Steelers will need to cut Haden or Nelson to improve CB room

Joe Haden Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Joe Haden Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (23) Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Cutting Joe Haden

It is safe to say that Haden has been one of the better free agents that the Steelers have signed since Kevin Colbert took over as GM. Better yet, Haden was a training camp cut of the Browns, meaning he was signed with no comp picks lost and for a reasonable deal at the time. He re-upped last year and will be in the final year of his deal going into 2021. While cutting him may seem like a mistake, the Steelers will be forced to make tough moves this offseason.

While he has been as close to a lockdown corner for the Steelers as anyone, he seems to have regressed in his age 31 season. According to PFR, he has only allowed 53.7 percent of passes his way to be completed. That is on pace with his usual numbers, but the issue is he has given up more yards per completion (14.3 so far on the year) while also giving up two touchdowns. As well, his quarterback rating when targeted is higher than it has ever been since he signed with the Steelers, as he has given up a rating of 84.8 when the ball is thrown his direction.

Is that number horrible? No, but it certainly shows regression from the 66.5 rating he was giving up last year. While he would still be roster able assuming his play stays around there, he has a hefty cap charge of $15.575 million next year, and the Steelers could save $7 million of that by cutting him. That money could be used to retain some of the better corners that are preparing to hit the market. Haden isn’t a lock to be cut, but his best days are behind him, and letting him go may allow for younger talent to stay on the roster.