By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Updated at 4:23 p.m.
Joe Haden is the newest highest-paid Cleveland Brown.
The Pro Bowl cornerback agreed to a five-year contract extension through 2019 reportedly worth $68 million. The deal includes a $14 million signing bonus and $45 million overall guaranteed money.
Depending on how you measure it, Haden’s deal is a shade below that recently given by the Seattle Seahawks to cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman’s four-year extension was reported to be worth $56 million – a $14 million a year average. Haden’s deal would compute to an average of $13.6 million.
Still, Haden moved to the top of the Browns’ salary chart with this deal, which originated last December and was completed by the new management team put in place by owner Jimmy Haslam.
Haden’s $13.6 million average tops the $11.5 million average established by left tackle Joe Thomas when he signed a seven-year extension for $80.5 million in 2011. Thomas’ deal runs through 2018.
Center Alex Mack’s new deal, negotiated by the Jacksonville Jaguars and matched by the Browns, is for $42 million over five years ($8.4 million average). Mack can opt out after two years, during which he averages $9 million.
Rounding out the top five in Browns’ salary averages are linebacker Paul Kruger ($8.1 million through 2017) and safety Donte Whitner ($7 million through 2017).
In a statement, GM Ray Farmer said, “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. 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. He’s a true professional. 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. I’m excited. Our team is excited.”
Coach Mike Pettine said, “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. 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. These are the types of players we want to build around, that will help us grow and win consistently.”
Haden, the seventh overall pick of the 2010 draft, is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, highlighted by his first career Pick 6 (interception return for a touchdown) at any level of football.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Use the hashtage #HeyTony on Twitter or email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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