Joe Haden

NFL Notes: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict has suspension reduced to 3 games

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NFL Notes: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict has suspension reduced to 3 games

CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had his NFL suspension reduced from five to three games for his egregious hit on a Chiefs running back during a preseason game.

During the second preseason game, Burfict leveled running back Anthony Sherman on a pass play when he wasn't the intended target.

Burfict appealed and had two games shaved off the punishment. He'll miss home games against the Ravens and Texans and a road game with the Packers. He'll be eligible to return for a game in Cleveland on Oct. 1.

It's the second straight season he's suspended for the first three games. He was suspended last season for his hit to Antonio Brown's head during a 2015 playoff loss to the Steelers.

Browns: Two-time Pro Bowl CB Haden released
CLEVELAND -- Too expensive and too-often injured, Joe Haden is no longer part of Cleveland's long-term plans.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who had gone from being one of the city's most popular players to polarizing, was released Wednesday after the team couldn't trade him or persuade him to take a pay cut.

"We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field," said Sashi Brown, executive vice president of football operations. "He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown."

A first-round pick in 2010, Haden has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons and the Browns felt he was no longer one of their top defensive backs.

Cleveland, which is in need of a wide receiver, had shopped Haden but couldn't find a partner, mostly because he'll make $11.1 million this season and has two more seasons left on a five-year, $67.5 million extension -- $45 million guaranteed -- he signed in 2014 (see full story).

Chiefs: Former 1st-round OL Erving acquired from Browns
CLEVELAND -- The Browns have traded offensive lineman Cam Erving, a former first-round pick, to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cleveland is getting a fifth-round pick for Erving, the No. 19 overall selection in 2015 who was a disappointment for the Browns. They tried him at center, guard and tackle, but the 6-foot-5, 313-pounder struggled at each spot.

Erving has been sidelined with a calf injury in recent weeks and limited in practice.

He started 13 games last season, 12 at center and one at right tackle. Cleveland's offensive line was ravaged by injuries last year, but the Browns still managed to finish second in the NFL by averaging 4.9 yards per attempt.

Erving made 42 consecutive starts at Florida State, where he started as a defensive lineman before moving to offensive tackle. Later, he was switched to center and played well for the Seminoles (see full story).

Texans: Team ready to head home after game cancelled
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texans were planning to head home to flood-ravaged Houston after their final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys was canceled Wednesday.

The game had been moved from Houston to the home of the Cowboys because of widespread flooding in the Houston area in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The decision to cancel Thursday night's game altogether was announced when the Texans said local authorities had found a safe route for the team to drive the 250 miles home.

"At this time, the priority of our organization is getting our players, coaches and staff back home to be reunited with their families, many of whom have been evacuated from their homes and are currently sheltered," the Texans said in a statement. "The team feels it is imperative to get back home to help the Houston community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey."

After the Texans played their preseason game in New Orleans last weekend, they went to North Texas instead of home after the storm. The Texans worked out Monday and Tuesday at the Cowboys' practice facility (see full story).

Vikings: Bridgewater still working his way back
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Exactly one year ago, Teddy Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a routine drill and tumbled to the ground with a devastating injury to his left knee.

The unflappable Bridgewater has made a remarkable recovery, but he still has a long way to go before he can return to action with the Minnesota Vikings.

"He's got to be able to protect himself on the field and be able to do the movements that are required by his position," coach Mike Zimmer said. "When he's there, he'll practice."

Bridgewater has taken questions from reporters only once since the fateful afternoon of Aug. 30, 2016, when teammates were jolted by the sight of their popular quarterback writhing in pain and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman had to lead a hasty effort to save his leg.

Each day during training camp this summer, with the rest of the Vikings working on strategy and technique, Bridgewater has been off to the side simply working on rebuilding strength in and around the knee that suffered a dislocation and multiple ligament tears (see full story).

Rating the Rumor: CB Joe Haden not a great fit for Eagles

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Rating the Rumor: CB Joe Haden not a great fit for Eagles

Cornerback is officially the new wide receiver for the Eagles. If there is a high-profile cornerback available, somewhere an Eagles fan thinks the team should go get him.

That might be the best explanation for why somebody would want the Eagles to sign free-agent cornerback Joe Haden, who was released by the Browns on Wednesday. According to Jason La Canfora‏, Haden is considering one-year contracts as well as multi-year offers and is expected to make his decision within the next 24 hours. Per La Canfora, the Eagles are in the mix.

The Eagles already addressed the corner position with a trade this month, acquiring Ronald Darby from the Bills for Jordan Matthews and a third-round draft pick. Say what you want about Darby, but that was a major investment, as were second- and third-round choices spent on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas in April. Jalen Mills is playing well, and Patrick Robinson, Dexter McDougle, C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes are all still in the mix as well.

How many cornerbacks do the Eagles need?

But this is Joe Haden! Yeah, so about that …

At one point, Haden was arguably one of the top five corners in the NFL, earning back-to-back Pro Bowl invitations in 2013 and ’14. The former seventh-overall selection in the draft recorded 87 pass breakups and 16 interceptions during his first five seasons in the league. He was very good, probably elite.

Haden has not been the same player since. The 28-year-old always had issues with nagging injuries, but he missed 14 games over the past two seasons – nearly a full schedule’s worth. Not coincidentally, a severe concussion and groin injuries have corresponded with a massive drop-off in performance. Haden ranked tied for 53rd (with Mills) among corners with a 97.7 opponents’ passer rating in coverage in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus, and 76th in adjusted yards per pass, according to Football Outsiders Almanac.

Whether it's injuries, Haden is disinterested after years of losing in Cleveland, or both, this clearly is not the mark of a shutdown corner. That being said, is he young enough to turn his career around?

It’s a fair question, but here’s one reason the Eagles probably won't be willing to find out: Money.

Prior to his release, Haden was set to earn over $11 million in 2017. He won't be seeing that kind of cash now, but it's not like he's going somewhere to play for the league minimum, either. Haden will command a hefty sum.

This isn’t a matter of the organization being cheap. This is a matter of whether the Eagles, who have already invested so many draft choices at corner, should pay Haden multi millions of dollars when he hasn’t been healthy or good in over two years.

Even if such a decision is justified, it seems completely unnecessary. Haden isn’t guaranteed to be an upgrade over Darby or Mills. Haden's presence on the roster might not be necessary by the end of this season, once Jones is recovered from a torn Achilles and Douglas is more comfortable with the speed of the game.

A desperate team, perhaps a championship contender, will give Haden a shot. The Eagles are not desperate at corner anymore, nor is ’17 Super Bowl or bust.

Haden could very well become a good player again in the right situation. He's also closing in on his 30th birthday and will be after some serious coin. With so much young talent on the roster already, it's hard not to think the Eagles might be better off rolling over their remaining cap space into next season.

Granted, a play for Haden makes more sense now than it did earlier this week when the Browns were trying to move him in a trade – that was a total non-starter. Now that he's a free agent, it's worth a conversation at least, though this rumor is not going much further than that.

Rating the Rumor: The Eagles are preparing for September 10

NFL Notes: Browns looking to trade Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden

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NFL Notes: Browns looking to trade Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden

BEREA, Ohio -- Joe Haden's bounce-back season might not happen with the Browns.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who has been limited by injuries the past two years, is reportedly being shopped and Cleveland coach Hue Jackson did nothing to clarify Haden's future.

Following Tuesday's practice, Jackson did not deny a CBSSports.com report that the Browns are "aggressively trying to trade" Haden.

"This is the time of year where everything starts happening," Jackson said when asked about the report. "Things start getting said. Obviously, I don't know that. But we'll deal with those things as we move forward."

Jackson deferred other questions about Haden to Sashi Brown, the team's executive vice president of football operations.

"I trust Sashi and his group to make the right decisions that I think is best for our football team," Jackson said. "Do I want Joe Haden on our football team? Yes, but whatever our organization thinks is best for our football team, that's what we'll do" (see full story).

Redskins: Nose tackle Taylor out for season
ASHBURN, Va. -- Phil Taylor is out for the season after tearing his left quadriceps tendon, leaving the Washington Redskins with a big void to fill on the defensive line.

Coach Jay Gruden said the veteran nose tackle, who was injured Sunday in the third preseason game , will have surgery on Wednesday. The season-ending injury is a blow to Taylor after he worked to get his career back on track following a series of injuries and was in line to start Week 1.

"I feel terrible for Phil because he did a great job at getting himself ready to play," Gruden said Tuesday. "He's in excellent shape, but it's just an unfortunate injury. The rest of the guys have got to step up."

Those players include Ziggy Hood, Joey Mbu, A.J. Francis and free agent additions Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee on a defensive line that has been prepared to play different positions. Rookie Jonathan Allen and second-year linemen Anthony Lanier and Matt Ioannidis could also fill in.

"We have a lot of guys that can play a lot of spots," Francis said. "All of us can play everywhere on the D-line. The good thing about it is because of that it's hard for offenses because they never truly know what they're going to get" (see full story).

Steelers: Team acquires TE McDonald from 49ers
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin scouted Vance McDonald before the 2013 NFL draft and liked what he saw from the big tight end. Though San Francisco grabbed McDonald in the second round that spring, Tomlin kept tabs on McDonald, monitoring his progress from afar.

Tomlin's view will be considerably better going forward. The Steelers acquired McDonald from the rebuilding 49ers on Tuesday, sending a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft to San Francisco for the 27-year-old McDonald and a fifth-round selection next spring.

"He's an NFL-capable tight end, another guy to add to that mix and some competition there," Tomlin said. "We'll quickly get him up to speed."

McDonald has struggled with drops during his career but caught 24 passes for San Francisco in 2016, setting career highs with 391 yards receiving and four touchdowns. He'll join a group that includes Jesse James, who was anointed the starter when the Steelers released Ladarius Green in March after one injury-marred season (see full story).

Cowboys: Elliott’s appeal headed for 2nd day
NEW YORK -- Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott's appeal of his six-game suspension over a domestic violence incident is headed for a second day with no timeline for completion of the hearing.

The appeal before arbitrator Harold Henderson is being held at an undisclosed location. The NFL suspended its 2016 rushing leader after concluding that he was physically abusive toward his then-girlfriend in Ohio last summer. Prosecutors declined to pursue the case.

The league's letter detailing the suspension also cited an incident when Elliott was caught on video pulling down a woman's shirt during a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas. The NFL said that incident wasn't considered in the six-game ban, but indicated a pattern of poor behavior.

Elliott, who had 1,631 yards rushing as a rookie, made his only appearance of the preseason last week at home against Oakland.

The 22-year-old was excused from practice this week to attend the hearing and wouldn't have played anyway in the exhibition finale against Houston. That game was relocated to the home of the Cowboys because of flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Houston.