April 24, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
36°F

CB Haden is only unsigned Browns’ rookie

BEREA — Joe Haden is alone on the outside. Haden, the No. 7 overall draft pick in April, was the only Browns rookie who had yet to agree to a deal Monday night after second-rounders T.J. Ward and running back Montario Hardesty agreed to four-year deals.

Haden, a cornerback, left Florida after his junior year and is expected to be the nickelback if he doesn’t win a starting job over Eric Wright or Sheldon Brown.

The rookies were required to report last Friday, while the veterans are due this Friday. Full-squad practices begin Saturday with a two-a-day.

The Browns announced the signing of Hardesty on Monday morning, but didn’t confirm the Ward deal. Their policy is to wait until the contract has been signed.

Hardesty, a running back from Tennessee, and Ward, a safety from Oregon, will try to win starting jobs.

Hardesty (No. 59 overall) will compete with incumbent Jerome Harrison for carries. Ward (No. 38) is the front-runner to join Abram Elam as the starting safeties. Fifth-rounder Larry Asante and veteran Mike Adams are also candidates at the back end of the defense.

Hardesty’s deal is worth $3.37 million with $1.57 million guaranteed, including a $1 million signing bonus, according to The Plain Dealer. He rushed for 13 touchdowns and 1,345 yards last season.

Ward’s deal is worth nearly $5 million, with $3 million in guaranteed money, including a $2.075 million signing bonus, according to nationalfootballpost.com. Ward (5-foot-10½, 211 pounds) led Oregon with 101 tackles in 2008 and totaled 68 in eight games in 2009.

Contact Scott Petrak at (440) 329-7253 or spetrak@chroniclet.com.