The Miami Dolphins should dive into the Joe Haden sweepstakes. Need and availability have intersected in a way that’s unusual in the NFL.
You may have noticed: the Dolphins’ pass defense has been pretty awful this preseason, and that the play at cornerback has been especially abysmal. That is why there is talk of Byron Maxwell losing his starting job. The season-ending injury to Tony Lippett didn’t help.
You may also have noticed: the Cleveland Browns just released cornerback Joe Haden. He is in his physical prime at age 28. He is a 2010 first-round draft pick (seventh overall) with 19 interceptions and 100 pass breakups. He made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and ’14.
Reports are the Saints, Cowboys, Colts, Steelers and Chiefs are among teams queuing for his services when he officially becomes free at 4 p.m. today to consider all comers. None of those teams has the pressing need Miami does.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
There is cause for caution, sure. Top corners are so coveted, and when one with a solid resume’ is waived by a bad team at age 28, one thinks, “Hmm.”
So let us review the caveats:
Yes, Haden has been hampered by injuries, including two groin surgeries.
Yes, his career has fallen off since 2015, and he’s been nothing special since.
Yes, Cleveland failed to find a trade partner on Tuesday.
And yes we have seen before (thinking Darrelle Revis) how a great CB can tumble pretty fast from elite to old news.
For the Dolphins, though, a team with a pressing need, due diligence on Haden is a must. Two “ifs” are prerequisites here. But if he is healthy, and if he’ll renegotiate to a contract befitting a guy who was just cut by the Browns, sign him.
“I know my future is bright,” Haden Tweeted upon his release.
If the Dolphins agree, let that future be in Miami.