Browns reward star defender Joe Haden with new deal
Cornerback guaranteed at least $45 million US
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.
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."
Signing Haden to a long-term deal was a priority for Cleveland this off-season. During the draft, the team selected Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert early in the first round to play opposite Haden.
Last season, Haden had 60 tackles and was credited with 21 passes defenced. He had his first career multiple-interception game and scored his first touchdown, returning an interception 29 yards at Cincinnati on Nov. 17.
He was suspended for the first four games in 2012 for violating the league's substance abuse policy. 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."