Cleveland Browns Release Cornerback Joe Haden

The Cleveland Browns released veteran cornerback Joe Haden, the team announced Wednesday. The two-time Pro Bowl player was due to be paid $11.1 million this season

Haden, who was Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2010, is free to sign with another team after 4 p.m. EST Wednesday. Two teams expected to be interested in signing Haden are the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, said ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cleveland Browns' Joe Haden
Cornerback Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after catching an interception against the Baltimore Ravens in November 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

The cornerback, 28, had signed a five-year extension in 2014 and was set to earn $10.4 million in 2019. Releasing him early will cost the Browns $6.4 million in cap space over the next two seasons.

“We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field,” said Browns Executive Vice President Sashi Brown. “He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown.”

Haden took to Instagram to post his thoughts. “I would first like to take the time to thank the browns fans all around the world from the bottom of my heart for making Cleveland a happy home for me for the past 7 years,” Haden wrote. “I also want to thank my coaches, the organization and especially my teammates who have become family. My God doesn’t make mistakes and I know the future is bright!”

Fans commented on the post with words of support, such as, “I’ve never seen another athlete that isn’t from the state of Ohio embrace the state as their own like you did during your 7 years. You’ll always be part of the OH family.”

Another fan commented with, “You will go and do great things! Cleveland was lucky to have you for all these years!”

Joe Haden at a Cleveland Cavaliers game
Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the crowd during a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks in October 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Haden reached the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014. He has been plagued by various injuries, including a concussion and finger and groin issues, and has only played 18 games since 2014, with three interceptions and 13 pass breakups in those two years.