Joe Haden capped a whirlwind day on Wednesday by signing a three-year, $27 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, jumping from the AFC North cellar to the defending division champions in the span of a 9-to-5 day on the East Coast.
Haden was released by the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday morning. But before the dinner hour arrived, Haden was signing with the Steelers, where he becomes the No. 1 cornerback on a defense that finished last season strong.
Injuries dogged Haden over the past two seasons and his salary for the next two years -- $11.1 million in 2017 and $10.4 million in 2018 -- was prohibitive for teams with interest in the 2010 first-round draft pick.
As a free agent, Haden was eligible to be signed after 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. At 4:30 p.m. ET, Haden had an agreement with the Steelers that included $7 million this season. He's owed $4 million guaranteed for 2017 by the Browns.
If a face-to-face meeting with the Steelers had failed to produce a contract, many other teams were lining up to court Haden. According to reports, the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins had interest.
"We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field," Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown said in a statement. "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 missed 11 games with a concussion and finger injury in 2015. A groin injury requiring offseason surgery slowed Haden all of 2016, when he missed three games but was graded as the least productive cornerback in the division by Pro Football Focus.
Haden, 28, made the Pro Bowl in 2014 and signed a five-year deal.