If the Raiders are interested in CB Joe Haden it might be an uphill battle.

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In seven NFL seasons, had never experienced a victory in Week 1. But that changed on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated his former team, the Cleveland Browns, 21-18.

The Steelers aren’t paying Haden $7 million this year to play a handful of snaps. They are paying him to start games. It’s uncertain how much man coverage they want him to play, but that was his specialty in Cleveland. Maybe Haden has lost a step, but perhaps he can play press-man in spurts and also execute the team’s zone concepts. Burns looked like a starting cornerback in training camp, so he will start the season as the team’s No. 1.

Speaking of Dallas, the ‘Boys have issues beyond Elliott’s suspension. Rod Marinelli is one of the game’s craftiest defensive coordinators, but he’s been handed a secondary bereft of reliable talent beyond promising young safety Byron Jones. In a division stocked with dangerous pass catchers — Odell Beckham Jr., Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall — Dallas could use a hand at cornerback. Haden has been one of Cleveland’s most loyal assets, but the club’s front office has made a cottage industry of moving expensive veterans in exchange for draft picks. Joe Thomas isn’t going anywhere, but Haden — no longer a top-five player at his position — would have a chance at a Super Bowl ring in Dallas. As for Cleveland, another valuable draft-day selection would help the team build for a brighter tomorrow.

Haden had two of his three interceptions in the same game, Sept. 18 against Baltimore, an example of what he can do when healthy. But he feels that since he was elected a team captain, he owes it to the team to play even if he is not 100 percent.

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The Steelers rewarded the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback by giving him the game ball after the win. It was all a part of welcoming Haden to the team and applauding him for his efforts in defeating the Browns.

Nike Browns #23 Joe Haden Brown Name & Number Pullover NFL Hoodie
Nike Browns #23 Joe Haden Brown Name & Number Pullover NFL Hoodie

Now, it is important to note that Haden must be near the top of his game to allow the Steelers to lean their safeties away from him. But even a B-level performance from the discount nfl jerseys veteran should help the team employ more man tactics. If Haden can simply contain the mid-level/upper-echelon WR1s and compete against the truly elite guys, the Steelers will be better positioned to make the transition to man coverage in 2017.

That should have set bells ringing at Raiders headquarters as general manager Reggie McKenzie, the reigning NFL executive of the year, leans on being more frugal than frivolous, so he was not about to pay Haden that much.

Haden, who was Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2010, has fought through injuries the past two seasons. He missed 11 games in 2015 with a finger injury and a concussion. In 2016, he missed three games and played through two groin issues that required postseason surgery.

According to Rapoport, Haden’s name has been mentioned ahead of Tuesday’s deadline. Once thought of as one of the NFL’s top shut-down corners after Pro Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, Haden has struggled with injuries over the past two seasons. Last year he played just five games due to concussion issues.

Haden said when first meeting with Williams, the coordinator told him had he not played through injury last season Williams would have told team brass to cut the corner. While that sort of revelation could lead to grimaces from agents and the media, Haden said Williams’ upfront attitude, accountability, and toughness was missing in Cleveland, especially when it comes to the star players.

While that sort of revelation could lead to grimaces from agents and the media, Haden said Williams’ upfront attitude, accountability, and toughness was missing in Cleveland, especially when it comes to the star players.

That’s an assertion that Haden would vehemently argue, but the news that the Browns are willing to take offers for Haden did not bring any kind of blanket denial from coach Hue Jackson, the guy who takes questions on these kind of things at this time of year.

If there’s one positive for Haden this offseason, it’s that he already knows new coordinator Ray Horton’s system after playing in the same defense three years ago. Horton was the coordinator under former Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski in 2013, when Haden turned in his finest season.

He can play man, which the Steelers want, but if he’s lost a step, he’ll be capable in the Steelers’ zone coverage. For Pittsburgh, it’s about flexibility and matchups. Haden enhances both areas.

That should have set bells ringing at Raiders headquarters as general manager Reggie McKenzie, the reigning NFL executive of the year, leans on being more frugal than frivolous, so he was not about to pay Haden that much.