Cornerback Haden signs 5-year, $68M extension with Browns

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Browns aren’t letting lockdown cornerback Joe Haden get away.

Haden signed a five-year, $68 million extension with Cleveland on Monday, the total value of the contract surpassing cornerback Richard Sherman’s four-year, $57 million agreement last week with the Seattle Seahawks.

Haden’s contract runs through the 2019 season and includes $45 million guaranteed, agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press. The package also contains a $14 million signing bonus.

One of the AFC’s top defensive backs and one of Cleveland’s most popular athletes, Haden made his first Pro Bowl last season, his fourth with the team. The Browns selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in 2010.

“Joe’s a good, young player who’s made a commitment to our organization, and he’s somebody with whom we want to move forward in order to advance our football team,” general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement. “He’s a great person. He’s the right guy to both build with and build around as we attempt to become an elite football team.

“When we talk about identifying talent, building through the draft, developing solid players and retaining them, Joe Haden’s at the top of the list.”

Haden posted a photo on Twitter of him signing his new contract.

Signing Haden to a long-term deal was a priority for Cleveland this offseason. During the draft, the team selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert early in the first round to play opposite Haden.

Last season, Haden had four interceptions, recorded 60 tackles and was credited with 21 passes defensed. He had his first career multiple-interception game and scored his first touchdown, returning an interception 29 yards at Cincinnati on Nov. 17.

According to STATS, Haden’s 21 passes defensed in 2013 tied for third in the NFL and his 67 since joining the Browns four years ago are second in the league during that span. Haden averages 1.19 passes defensed per game, the second-highest average among players with 50-plus PBUs since at least 1994.

For the most part, Haden has been an exemplary player and citizen since joining the Browns. His only major misstep was the four-game suspension he received in 2012 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy after he tested positive for the stimulant Adderall.

First-year Browns coach Mike Pettine is thrilled to have Haden for several years.

“It’s important for us to extend our core players and continue to grow with guys that represent everything we want this team to be: tough, hard-working and passionate,” Pettine said. “Joe obviously loves his teammates, and he loves this city. I know he wants to keep growing and improving as a player. That’s what we need, and that’s what we want.”

With Haden’s contract situation resolved, the Browns are expected to focus on getting Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron signed to a long-term deal. Cameron had a breakout season in 2013, making 80 catches for 917 yards and seven TDs.

Cameron is in the final season of his contract and has reportedly turned down two offers from the Browns.

At Cleveland’s recent voluntary minicamp, Cameron said he’s blocking out any discussion about negotiations to improve.

“I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on,” he said. “I’m not anywhere near where I can be. I still have a lot to prove to myself, and I’m willing to work.”

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