In a message on Twitter, cornerback Joe Haden said his goodbyes to the Steelers fanbase on Saturday.
Steelernation we will always have memories! 🙏🏾🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/8oAyeh9Ipt
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) March 19, 2022
Haden’s contract expired at the end of the season and it has been expected that the Steelers would not resign the 12-year veteran after a five-year stint in Pittsburgh. During his time in Pittsburgh, Haden was easily the team’s top cornerback.
Across five seasons, Haden grabbed 10 interceptions, forced three fumbles, had 238 total tackles and registered a sack. His best season came in 2019 when he was named to the Pro Bowl after a year in which he nabbed five interceptions.
This past season however, Haden struggled with a foot injury. He appeared in 12 games this past year with 11 starts. While playing he didn’t register an interception, although he did recover a key fumble against the Tennessee Titans in the team’s 19-13 victory back on December 19, 2021.
For an organization that is typically not known to sign big-name free agents, Haden is perhaps one of the biggest names the Steelers have ever signed on the free agent market. Haden came to Pittsburgh in 2017 after seven seasons with the rival Cleveland Browns. While with Cleveland, he was a two-time pro-bowler and had five seasons with, at least, three interceptions.
At the time, the Haden signing had a big impact for a defense that had struggled to develop their own impact cornerbacks. After striking out on draft picks such as 1st rounder Artie Burns, the Steelers chose to forgo their well-documented draft and develop or ‘Steeler’s Way’ strategy and sign Haden who immediately helped solidify the secondary.
It is not known where Haden will end up, but the Steelers have already found his replacement in recent signing Levi Wallace and other in-house options.