The San Francisco 49ers reportedly briefly flirted with the idea of bringing in former Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden, but their actual interest level was hard to gauge because it didn’t take long for Haden, a Pro Bowler, to land with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Haden would have been an interesting addition to the 49ers at this point. He is a legitimate No. 1 corner when he’s healthy, and the 49ers seem to be putting all their eggs in a Rashard Robinson basket that is still a fairly significant question mark.
Robinson might have a bright future as an All-Pro cornerback. Or he might not. It’s hard to tell how much the coaching staff actually likes him as a No. 1 guy and how much they are simply suffering from a lack of high-end options. Haden is certainly a high-end option, and a lot of pressure would have been off of Robinson if he joined hte team.
That pressure is officially back on. Guys like Dontae Johnson, K’Waun Williams and Ahkello Witherspoon are feeling it too, surely. But from where I’m sitting, this is probably a good place for the 49ers to be in as far as the cornerback position is concerned. Haden is far from a guarantee with his injury history and the 49ers could stunt the growth of their young corners by going with Haden in the short term.
I think the Browns made a mistake in releasing Haden, namely because it’s not like they were hurting for money or cap space. But I don’t think the 49ers made a mistake in not landing Haden before the Steelers could.
Robinson has struggled in the preseason despite all the training camp hype, but if he’s going to succeed, it’s probably best for him to dive right in. We’ll get to see what he’s made of sooner rather than later, and I don’t think the 49ers are worse off because of it.