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Browns Cut Joe Haden - Should The Giants Pursue Him?

Could the former Pro Bowler be a Giant?

NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns made waves Wednesday morning when they released two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.

The New York Giants, meanwhile, are searching for reliable depth behind their dominant trio of starting corners. Michael Hunter has been promising this year, but has been dealing with a concussion, and Donte Deayon is a passionate dynamo who can make splash plays, but his size will always be a handicap.

There’s a sizable gulf between the Giants’ starters and Hunter and Deayon and then another gulf between them and the rest of the depth chart at corner.

Selected with the seven overall pick of the 2010 draft, Haden came into the league as a top cover corner, and was paid as such in 2014 when he signed a five-year, $68 million contract extension. He was likely released due to declining play and a still-large contract as the Browns continue their rebuilding operation.

Haden has also dealt with injuries, playing just 18 games in the last two seasons. His 2015 season was limited to just five games when he was placed on the injured reserve with concussions and played through groin injuries in 2016.

However, Haden is still talented, 28 years old, and a former top-10 pick who was trapped on a bad team. He’ll get another chance with a team and quickly.

Should the Giants pursue Haden? My guess is that they will, and should, at the very least approach Haden and his people. Assuming his play can rebound after his injuries, signing Haden would settle all arguments as to whether the Giants have the best secondary in the league. They would. However, in the words of our own Ed Valentine, “He’s not coming to New York to be a fourth corner. They’re not going to sign Haden to bench Eli Apple.”

I tend to agree. While nobody expected the Giants to be able to sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie when he came to New York to talk to the Jets, but that did happen. If they can recruit him to don Giants’ blue, there are ways to work him in — namely rotating DRC to safety and play match-ups with their nickel and dime defenses. But it would be a tough sell to get a former number one corner to agree to be third or fourth on a depth chart when he has options to be a number one elsewhere.

My guess is that the Pittsburgh Steelers should be the front runner. There he would be going to an instant starter for a contender. The Giants could wind up seeing him on the Dallas Cowboys as well.