Football / Sports

Browns sign cornerback Joe Haden to five-year, $68 million extension

After selecting cornerback Justin Gilbert in last week's NFL Draft, Browns General Manager Ray Farmer practically salivated over the prospect of pairing Gilbert with veteran Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.

On Tuesday, the Browns made sure the pairing will last for more than one season, signing Haden to a five-year contract extension worth about $68 million. He would have been a prospective free agent after the season.

Haden, the seventh overall pick out of the University of Florida in 2010, is now signed through 2019. The contract includes a full guarantee of $23 million with another $22 million injury guarantee, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not disclosed the financial terms.

The contract beats the one signed by the Seattle Sea�hawks' Richard Sherman in years (four) and dollars (about $57 million).

Haden has been productive since first walking on the field for the Browns, but in the past two years, he has blossomed into one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, gaining the reputation of being able to lock down the best receivers in the league.

"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," Farmer said in a news release. "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 echoed those statements.

"It's important for us," Pettine said in the release, "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."

Haden has appeared in 57 games with the Browns, including 48 starts.

He has 13 interceptions, 68 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two sacks and a fumble recovery. His passes defensed are the most in the NFL since 2010.

Last year, he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl and the Associated Press voted him second-team All Pro.

So take that

Minnesota Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater couldn't let draft rumors alone.

Tuesday morning on The Dan Patrick Show, Bridgewater said that he didn't want to be in Cleveland.

The Browns took Johnny Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick Thursday and Bridgewater fell to the Vikings at No. 32.

"There was a chance but I actually told my agent that's not the place where I wanted to be," Bridgewater said on the show. "Throughout this entire process, I felt comfortable with the Minnesota Vikings through every visit I had with the team. It was a family environment. The players �" great group of guys �" so I felt comfortable wanting to play here."

What Bridgewater said about the Browns speaks volumes on how much the team needs to restore credibility and respectability in the minds of some.

But the statement also comes across as a dig at the fans.

Apparently, no one told Bridgewater that Cleveland sports fans have long memories.

Should he ever play in FirstEnergy Stadium, Bridgewater will likely find out.

Cameron hires agent

Browns Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron has hired CAA Sports to serve as his agent.

Cameron is in the final year of his $645,000 contract. So far, he and the Browns have been unable to come to an agreement on an extension.

If he and the Browns are unable to reach a deal, he can become a free agent after next season if the team doesn't use its franchise or transition tag on him. The latter was used for center Alex Mack recently and would allow Cameron to negotiate with teams next spring to test the free-agent market, but the Browns would have the right to match any offer.

If the Browns use the franchise tag on him, he'd cost the team about $7 million.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound tight end made his first Pro Bowl last season based on a season that included 80 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns.

He fired his former agent, Michael Hoffman of Premier Sports, last week, according to reports.

(c)2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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