The Cleveland Browns cut their first-round pick in 2010, Joe Haden, on Wednesday.
News of a big-name cornerback becoming available led to several fan bases dreaming about him landing on their team.
Around the same time, 49ers general manager John Lynch was doing a radio appearance on KNBR. Naturally, he was asked if his team had interest in adding Haden.
“[Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and I haven’t talked about it since it actually became a reality,” Lynch said. “So we’ll do that probably right after we hang up and see where we go.”
Lynch didn’t fully commit to being interested in adding Haden, making a conditional statement that “if we feel like he can help us,” they’d get involved in wooing the veteran to head west.
Not much later, Haden took a meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who signed him to a three-year deal worth $27 million — assuming he completes that term.
Haden has had some great season at cornerback, but the 49ers not getting heavily involved with him makes sense.
In 2016, Haden was the 88th-ranked cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus. It was his worst season in his career that’s entering its eighth year. He ranked behind Jimmie Ward, Keith Reaser and Rashard Robinson.
Haden could turn things around in 2017 with a change of scenery. Getting away from Cleveland can do wonders. But, that isn’t the kind of gamble the 49ers are looking to make right now.
The Niners don’t need expensive veterans when they’re still a few years away from competing. Let the young cornerbacks get reps — even if they get torched — while they figure out what they have for the future.
Contact Examiner Sports Editor Jacob C. Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.