Cleveland (WOIO) - Joe Haden's $68 million deal isn't quite like Alex Mack's $42 million deal. Mack wanted to test the market, and while he certainly seems sincere when he says he's happy the Browns matched Jacksonville's offer, he came as close as one can come to leaving town. Haden won't have that chance, and it was his choice. Sure, money talks, especially $45 million in guaranteed money, but Joe would have cashed in anywhere eventually. Instead, he simply did what he's done since coming to town four years ago. He embraced the city.
You see him at Cavs games...you see him at the NBA Draft Lottery...you see him at restaurants...you even see him at Monsters games. That's certainly no slight to our favorite local hockey team. My love for the Monsters is well-apparent. The point is, Joe Haden quickly endeared himself to this city by showing a genuine affection for the same things and places that we care about. He's a Clevelander, even if his birth certificate reads Fort Washington, Maryland.
The Browns didn't break the bank for Joe because he hangs out in cool places, of course. They did it because he's one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL and is only getting better as he approaches his prime. But make no mistake, the fact that Joe wants to be here played a role. His enthusiasm is infectious, on the field and off, which is important, because as this team improves, more free agents will come, and Cleveland will no longer be the brunt of jokes, a career dead end. Haden is proof that it's a place where you can go, and actually thrive.
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