MIAMI (CBSMiami/CBSSports) – The Miami Dolphins were among the teams who reached out to Joe Haden Wednesday after his Browns release. Ultimately, the two-time pro bowl cornerback chose the Pittsburgh Steelers. He signed a 3-year contract worth $27 Million.
On Thursday, Haden explained what separated the Steelers from the competition. As told by Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports, here’s what Haden had to say to Missi Matthews of Steelers.com:
“Pittsburgh was the first team to get into contact with my agent and it just worked out, very, very well,” Haden said. “I had some other offers, but with me, it was more just the opportunity to be able to be with this organization, the structure. I had some other teams — Miami, New Orleans, Dallas — but, after talking to my agent, my family, this felt like the right fit.
“It just felt right. Coming out here and meeting everybody, meeting the owner, I can tell the organization is run very well.”
The Steelers are regarded among the best-run organizations in sports, so it’s easy to understand why Haden was impressed. Haden reunites with former Florida Gators teammates Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert.
Maurkice’s twin brother, Mike Pouncey, starts at center for the Dolphins. Pouncey and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh campaigned on social media for Haden to choose Miami over Pittsburgh, but the Steelers got the last laugh.
Haden could have fit in very nicely with the Dolphins. He very likely would have taken a starting CB job from Byron Maxwell, who’s been inconsistent throughout the preseason. Plus, Miami could use some depth at the position after losing Tony Lippett for 2017 with a ruptured achilles.
With Haden taking his talents elsewhere, the Dolphins will need quick development from rookie Cordrea Tankersley and contributions from former Buccaneer Alterraun Verner. Verner has been especially impressive throughout the preseason, and has a chance to steal Maxwell’s starting job. Xavien Howard is the other starting corner, and has been brilliant in camp and preseason so far.
In moving from the Browns to the Steelers, Haden stays in the AFC North division and joins the Browns’ hated rival.
He won’t have to wait long to face the team that cut him. The Steelers face the Browns in Week 1.