General manager John Lynch left open the possibility the 49ers might pursue cornerback Joe Haden, who got released Wednesday morning by the Cleveland Browns.
Haden made two Pro Bowls, the last coming in the 2014 season when he overlapped there with current 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan as the Browns offensive coordinator. Jeff Hafley was the Browns secondary coach in 2014-15 before assuming that post with the 49ers.
“We’re going through that process right now,” Lynch said on KNBR 680-AM. “If we feel he can help us at that position, then we’ll get involved and get active. We’re in that process right now.”
The 49ers projected starting cornerbacks are Rashard Robinson and Donate Johnson. Their nickel back is K’Wuan Williams, Haden’s former teammate with the Browns in 2014-15.
ESPN reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be the frontrunner to acquire Haden, who can sign with teams after 1 p.m. Wednesday. Lynch said he planned to speak further with Shanahan Wednesday morning about Haden.
Haden, the seventh overall draft pick in 2010, has 19 career interceptions and 89 pass breakups. He played only five games in 2015 because of a concussion and fractured finger, and he had three interceptions in 13 starts last year.
Said Lynch: “Somebody asked me if I’ve been turning on the tape this morning. My response was: ‘If this is the first time I turned on tape of Joe Haden, I wouldn’t be doing my job.’ We’ve been watching Joe just like players throughout this league for a while.”