Casey Hayward

AFC West Notes: Raiders, Sutton, Chubb

When the Raiders selected Damon Arnette 19th overall last year, it marked the second straight year the Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime stunned draft viewers in Round 1. Despite multiple thumb issues and a placement on the Raiders’ reserve/COVID-19 list, Arnette started seven games as a rookie. Pro Football Focus graded Arnette as a bottom-10 cornerback, however, and the Raiders may not have the Ohio State product in their lineup plans this year. Arnette has nearly drifted off the Raiders’ radar, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes, adding that Casey Hayward is expected to line up as Las Vegas’ outside corner starter opposite Trayvon Mullen (subscription required). While a few lower-profile corners’ names surfaced during Raiders minicamp this week, Arnette’s was conspicuously absent, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal adds. Talk surfaced last month of Arnette moving into the slot, but Tafur adds that job looks like Nevin Lawson‘s to lose. Arnette did not practice in the slot during minicamp.

Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • Yannick Ngakoue is in search of a new agent. The recently signed Raiders defensive end left the Wasserman agency this week, according to the Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (on Twitter). This is not a first for the former Jaguars, Vikings and Ravens pass rusher. He left his first NFL agent in May 2018 and made another change last August. Ngakoue’s next agent will be his fourth as a pro. Ngakoue signed a two-year, $26MM deal with the Raiders in March; that pact featured $21MM fully guaranteed.
  • Numerous key players missed extensive time for the Broncos last season, but the team received good news as it prepares for its next training camp. One of the biggest names to miss Denver’s 5-11 2020 slate, Courtland Sutton is not expected to start camp on the team’s active/PUP list, Vic Fangio said this week. The Pro Bowl wide receiver suffered an ACL tear in Week 2 of last season. Neither Sutton nor Bradley Chubb, who is rehabbing offseason ankle surgery, are likely to miss camp time, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Chubb needed bone spurs removed from his ankle.
  • Bashaud Breeland moved on from the Chiefs after two seasons, signing with the Vikings. But the veteran cornerback initially wanted to re-sign with the Chiefs.

Raiders To Sign CB Casey Hayward

Casey Hayward will stay in the AFC West. The former Chargers Pro Bowler intends to sign with the Raiders, veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson tweets. It’s a one-year deal worth up to $4MM, Anderson adds (on Twitter).

The Bolts cut Hayward this offseason, ending a five-year tenure. The veteran cornerback will link up with former Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, whom the Raiders hired this offseason. Hayward met with Raiders coaches Tuesday, Anderson adds (via Twitter). He will also reunite with secondary coach Ron Milus, whom the Raiders brought over with Bradley. Milus was the Chargers’ DBs coach throughout Hayward’s tenure.

Corner has resided as a perennial Raiders need, and they have extensive experience going against Hayward to judge his credentials. Experience in Bradley’s system will benefit the nine-year veteran as well. This move, however, likely will send Richard Sherman elsewhere. The former All-Pro spoke with the Raiders about a deal this offseason, but Hayward’s impending Las Vegas stay likely will point Sherman to another team.

Hayward, 32 in September, operated as one of the league’s better corners for a while. He signed what turned out to be a bargain deal for the Chargers in 2016, coming over from the Packers, and made the Pro Bowl that season and under Bradley in 2017. Hayward intercepted 11 passes between the 2016-17 seasons. This led the Bolts to reward him with a $12MM-per-year extension. While 2020 can be classified as a down year for Hayward, he is not far removed from elite work. Pro Football Focus graded the former second-round pick as a top-five corner in 2019.

Las Vegas drafted a corner this year — Nate Hobbs — but not until the fifth round. The team still has highly drafted cogs Damon Arnette and Trayvon Mullen; Hayward will provide veteran support for these young defenders. Arnette missed much of last season due to injury.

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Chargers Release CB Casey Hayward

One of the better free agent signings in recent years, Casey Hayward will be forced to head back to the market. The Chargers are releasing the veteran cornerback, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The team announced the move.

A former Packer, Hayward spent the past five seasons with the Bolts. The Chargers will save $9.75MM by cutting Hayward in the final year of his contract. They attempted to trade Hayward first.

I’ve known for a couple of days,” Hayward said (via veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson, on Twitter) of the Bolts’ plans to move on. “I know they were seeing if they could trade me, wanting to keep my salary the same. I’m definitely open to new possibilities now. I want to play at least a couple more years.”

This marks a major change for the Bolts, who saw their initial Hayward contract — three years, $15.3MM — produce two Pro Bowls and a second-team All-Pro honor. Hayward agreed to a three-year, $34.25MM re-up ahead of the 2018 season.

Going into the 2020 slate, the Chargers had three All-Pro corners — Hayward, Desmond King and 2020 signing Chris Harris. Entering free agency, Harris is the only one left for a Bolts defense that will transition to Brandon Staley‘s scheme. While Staley was only with the Broncos for one season and helmed the outside linebackers during his Denver stint, Harris was with the team during Staley’s stay.

Hayward, 31, led the NFL with seven INTs in 2016. He picked off four passes in his second Chargers season, another Pro Bowl slate, and was a key presence for a Chargers defense that ranked third overall in the team’s 2018 playoff campaign. The nine-year veteran’s play tailed off last season, with Pro Football Focus slotting him outside the top 60 players at his position.

With the cuts of Hayward and Trai Turner, the Chargers have moved their cap-space figure north of $45MM. This will help the now-Justin Herbert-centered team in need areas. The offensive line certainly profiles as one. But with Hayward gone and Michael Davis a free agent-to-be, cornerback will be an area to address as well.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 1/1/21

Here are the minor moves from New Year’s Day:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: WR John Brown

Dallas Cowboys

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chargers Activate Chris Harris, Place Melvin Ingram On IR

A Pro Bowl defender will be available for the Chargers against the Bills, but the team will also be without one. The Bolts activated Chris Harris on Friday but cleared the roster spot by placing Melvin Ingram on IR.

Harris has been out since Week 2 with a foot injury, but the All-Decade cornerback returned to practice last week. The Chargers signed the longtime Broncos slot corner to a two-year deal this offseason, but their squadron of All-Pros in the secondary has largely failed to materialize.

Derwin James is out for the season, and the Chargers traded 2018 All-Pro Desmond King to the Titans. Casey Hayward will also miss the Bills game with a groin injury, interestingly leaving Harris as the only member of that would-have-been All-Pro quartet on track to suit up in Buffalo.

The Chargers previously ruled Ingram out for Week 12 with a knee injury. This will be the second time the ninth-year edge rusher has landed on IR this season. He missed time earlier this year because of knee trouble. These setbacks have damaged Ingram’s 2021 free agency stock. After lobbying for a new contract in August, Ingram returned to practice. The 31-year-old defensive end’s multi-injury season — one that has yet to produce a sack — and the expected cap reduction could severely affect his market come March.

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Chargers Sign Casey Hayward To Extension

Casey Hayward is sticking around Los Angeles for the foreseeable future. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the Chargers have inked the cornerback to a three-year, $36MM extension. The deal includes $20MM in guaranteed money.

As Michael David Smith of ProFootballFocus.com points out, Hayward still had a year left on his contract, but the Chargers ultimately ripped up the old deal and locked their top cornerback up through 2020. Rapoport tweets that Hayward will earn $15.75MM in the first year of the contract. The Pro Bowler was set to account for a $5.1MM cap hit in 2018.

Following four seasons with the Packers, the 28-year-old has spent the past two years with the Chargers organization. After serving as a backup for most of his tenure in Green Bay, the former second-round pick has established himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the league during his time in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Since joining the organization, Hayward has earned a pair of Pro Bowl births and second-team All-Pro nods, and he’s collected 11 interceptions through two seasons. Pro Football Focus was particularly fond of Hayward’s performance in 2017, ranking him first among 120 eligible cornerbacks.

The Chargers seem relatively set at cornerback heading into next season. Besides Hayward, the team is also rostering Jason VerrettTrevor Williams (ERFA), Michael Davis, Craig Mager, and Jeff Richards.

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Contract Details: Weddle, Sensabaugh, Hayward

Listed below are several of the latest contract details on recently agreed-upon or signed contracts from around the NFL. All links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle unless other indicated.

AFC:

  • Eric Weddle, S (Ravens): Four years, $26MM. $13MM guaranteed ($9MM fully guaranteed). $7MM signing bonus. $1MM roster bonus due on April 4. $4MM base salary guaranteed for injury at signing; becomes fully guaranteed if on the roster on the fifth day of the 2017 league year. $1MM annual Pro Bowl incentives from 2017 to 2019 (Twitter links).
  • Casey Hayward, CB (Chargers): Three years, $15.3MM. $6.8MM guaranteed. $2.5MM signing bonus. $3.3MM roster bonus due on March 18. $1MM roster bonuses due on third day of 2017, 2018 league years (Twitter links).
  • Chris Hogan, WR (Patriots): Three years, $12MM. $7.5MM guaranteed. $4MM roster bonus paid on March 14. $500K in annual per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau, OL (Jaguars): Two years, $3MM. $250K signing bonus. $250K option bonus to be exercised 22 days before first day of 2017 league year (Twitter links).

NFC:

  • Coty Sensabaugh, CB (Rams): Three years, up to $19MM. $6.5MM guaranteed. $3.5MM roster bonus due on March 18. $1MM roster bonus due third day of 2017 league year (becomes fully guaranteed this Friday). $1.5MM annually incentives for playing time, fumble recoveries, interceptions, and playoffs (all Twitter links).
  • J’Marcus Webb, G/T (Seahawks): Two years, $6MM. $2.45MM guaranteed. $1.2MM signing bonus. $500K in annual per-game active roster bonuses (Twitter link).
  • Zach Miller, TE (Bears): Two years, $5.5MM. $3MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $500K roster bonus due on March 18. $500K in annual per-game roster bonuses. Up to $1MM in annual incentives for playing time, catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns (Twitter links).
  • Chris Conte, S (Buccaneers): One year, $3MM. $2.5MM guaranteed. $1.5MM roster bonus due on March 17. Up to $1MM in incentives for playing time, stats, and playoffs (Twitter link).
  • Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): One year, $2MM. $500K roster bonus due on March 18 (Twitter link).
  • Sealver Siliga, DT (Seahawks): One year, $1.05MM. $200K signing bonus. $50K Week 1 active roster bonus. Up to $350K in incentives (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Bradley Sowell, T (Seahawks): One year, $1MM. $200K signing bonus. Up to $500K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link).
  • Dan Orlovsky, QB (Lions): One year, minimum salary benefit. $160K guaranteed. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Red Bryant, DL (Cardinals): One year, minimum salary benefit. $55K Week 1 roster bonus. $25K workout bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).

FA Rumors: Okung, Soliai, Weddle, Hayward

Free agent left tackle Russell Okung has an offer in hand from the Steelers, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link), while Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports (Twitter link) that Okung has no other visits planned at this time. Okung is just one of a few offensive tackles whom Pittsburgh has either met with or plans to meet with, including Ryan Harris and Chris Hairston. Kelvin Beachum, the Steelers’ left tackle for the past few seasons, remains unsigned, and is taking visits with other clubs.

Let’s dive into the latest free agent news…

  • Former Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai will visit the division-rival Panthers, tweets Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. Soliai, 32, was released by Atlanta on the first day of the free agent period after spending two years with the club. Carolina has already released defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, so Soliai could be a nice addition to the Panthers’ interior rotation.
  • Another free agent defensive tackle — ex-Patriot Sealver Siliga — will take a meeting with the Seahawks, according to Garafolo (Twitter link). Siliga, 26 next month, was not offered a restricted free agent tender by New England despite appearing in 13 games for the club last season.
  • The Seahawks will also meet with running back Lance Dunbar, reports Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The 26-year-old Dunbar was off to a nice start with the Cowboys in 2015, catching 21 passes out of the backfield in just four games before a torn ACL knocked him out for the remainder of the season. Seattle will be the second NFC West visit for Dunbar, who’s also met with the 49ers.
  • Free agent guard Amini Silatolu will visit the Cardinals today, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The former-second pick hasn’t been a full-time starter since his rookie season in 2012, but he’s only 26 years old, and could help fill in at guard if Arizona follows through on its proposed move of Jonathan Cooper to center.
  • Eric Weddle is expected to narrow his choice to two teams soon, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The veteran safety is reportedly choosing between the Ravens, Steelers, Cowboys, and Raiders.
  • Before agreeing to a three-year deal with the Chargers earlier today, cornerback Casey Hayward also drew interest from the Chiefs and 49ers, tweets Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton said the Colts, Titans, Dolphins, and Cowboys all showed interest in signing him before he agreed to a new deal with Arizona, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Chargers, Casey Hayward Agree To Deal

3:45pm: Hayward will receive $6.8MM in guaranteed money, reports Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Jounal-Sentinel (Twitter link).

2:53pm: The Chargers have agreed to terms with free agent cornerback Casey Hayward, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link). Hayward will sign a three-year, $15.3MM deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.Casey Hayward

The 26-year-old Hayward had spent the entirety of his four-year career with the Packers, but 2015 was his first season a full-time starter. Hayward started 11 games, playing 87% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps, and while he didn’t post any interceptions, he did defense six passes, and graded as the league’s No. 16 corner according to Pro Football Focus.

In San Diego, Hayward will join an impressive group of corners that includes Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett, and while Hayward has shown that he can play on the outside, he’ll likely line up in the slot — where’s he proven to be one the NFL’s truly elite defenders — with the Chargers. The signing of Hayward could be an indication that San Diego is bracing to lose fellow corner Patrick Robinson, who is also an unrestricted free agent, and seems unlikely to return to the Chargers as what would now be their fourth corner.

The Chargers have been relatively active during the free agent period — in the secondary alone, the club also added former Colts safety Dwight Lowery in addition to Hayward. San Diego got stronger on its defensive line with the addition of Brandon Mebane, and on the offensive side of the ball, re-signed veteran tight end Antonio Gates and brought in former Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin.

Green Bay, meanwhile, will rely on Sam Shields, Damarious Randall, and Quinten Rollins to headline their group of corners for the foreseeable future. The Packers have a history of re-signing their own internal free agents, so it’s a little surprising that they weren’t able to reach an agreement with Hayward, who was not only drafted and developed by Green Bay, but signed for a very reasonable annual value of $5.1MM.

Hayward ranked as PFR’s No. 29 overall free agent, and the No. 4 corner on the market. The options listed ahead of Hayward — Janoris Jenkins, Sean Smith, and Prince Amukamara — have all reached new agreements, leaving Brandon Boykin, Leon Hall, and the aforementioned Robinson as the best remaining cornerbacks available.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Hayward, McManis, Manziel

A year ago, a pair of Packers cornerbacks – Tramon Williams and Davon House – reached the open market and signed with new teams, and it appears another Green Bay corner could explore his options in free agency this time around. As Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com details, Casey Hayward has hired a new agent, David Mulugheta, and isn’t sure whether he’ll get a new deal done with the Packers within the next few weeks.

“They normally wait til closer to the deadline [to negotiate],” Hayward told Demovsky this week in a text message. “But we shall see. I’ll probably hit the market.”

As Demovsky observes, the Packers typically prefer to re-sign their own homegrown players rather than bringing in outside free agents, but it appears the team is deep enough in the secondary to allow Hayward to gauge his value. If the 26-year-old finds that he has fewer suitors than expected, or doesn’t get an offer he likes, he could re-sign with the Packers even after becoming a free agent.

Here’s more from out of the NFL’s North divisions:

  • Defensive back Sherrick McManis doesn’t play much on defense, but he’s extremely valuable on special teams, so the Bears ought to consider re-signing him this offseason, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com.
  • Even if the Browns didn’t lie about Johnny Manziel‘s concussion diagnosis during the final week of the regular season, the team has played a part in enabling the former Texas A&M quarterback since drafting him two years ago, says Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.
  • Under previous general manager Martin Mayhew, the Lions often made their veteran cuts shortly after the Super Bowl, but new GM Bob Quinn may be a little more patient when it comes to making decisions on potential cap casualties like Stephen Tulloch, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.