The Colts are eyeing some cornerbacks. The team worked out D.J. Hayden and Grant Haley today, according to Aaron Wilson (via Twitter). Hayden hasn’t lived up to his 12th-overall selection in the 2013 draft, but to his credit, he’s put together an eight-year career. The veteran spent the past three seasons in Jacksonville, but he bounced on and off injured reserve in 2020 while dealing with a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old ultimately saw time in five games during his final season in Jacksonville, collecting 18 tackles. Hayden didn’t end up catching on with a team this offseason. He auditioned for the Bears last week, his first reported visit of the season. Haley went undrafted out of Penn State in 2018, but he still saw time in 25 games through his first two seasons in the NFL, collecting 76 tackles with the Giants. He spent much of the 2020 season with the Saints, although he only saw time in one game. He was cut by New Orleans in late August. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Bears worked out a trio of defensive backs today, including a former first-round pick. The team auditioned D.J. Hayden, Lafayette Pitts, and Kevon Seymour, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). While Hayden hasn’t necessarily lived up to his 12th-overall selection in the 2013 draft, he’s still managed to put together an eight-year career. The veteran had spent the past three seasons in Jacksonville, but he bounced on and off injured reserve in 2020 while dealing with a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old ultimately saw time in five games, collecting 18 tackles. The Bears struggled during their loss to the Rams, with slot corner Marqui Christian getting his fair share of the blame. The cornerback finished the game having allowed five catches (including two touchdowns) on six targets. The Bears were also busy working out running backs today, with Brian Hill, Wendell Smallwood, and Chris Thompson all in for tryouts. Biggs assumes (on Twitter) that the team is simply updating their RB free agent list, which makes sense considering the team’s depth (David Montgomery, Damien Williams, and (eventually) Tarik Cohen). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here: Arizona Cardinals
- Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: S Deionte Thompson
- Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OLB Pernell McPhee
- Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Josh Norman
- Waived: DT Anthony Rush
- Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DE Joe Jackson
- Signed off Cardinals’ practice squad: LB Reggie Gilbert
- Promoted: RB Nathan Cottrell
- Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: K Chase McLaughlin
- Placed on IR: CB D.J. Hayden, S Daniel Thomas
- Placed on IR: WR Byron Pringle
- Claimed off waivers from Patriots: DE Derek Rivers
- Waived: LB Chase Hansen
- Promoted: RB Josh Adams
- Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Vance McDonald
- Promoted: TE Kevin Rader
The Jaguars will be down their slot cornerback for at least three weeks. They placed D.J. Hayden on IR Wednesday, further thinning out the team’s new-look secondary. Hayden left the Jags’ Week 4 game with a hamstring injury. The third-year Jaguar represents the team’s most experienced corner, having been a regular since coming into the league as a 2013 first-round pick. Jacksonville signed Hayden in 2018 and, for the most part, has seen the former Raiders bust rejuvenate himself. Hayden graded as a top-25 corner in 2018 and ’19, per Pro Football Focus, which is less bullish on his early-2020 returns. Hayden teamed with Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye in 2018 and to start last season. Both have since been traded, leaving the veteran with younger defenders. The Jags will be forced to use their less seasoned talents exclusively against the Texans in Week 5. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Sunday, 9:42am: It appears that this situation will blow over. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that Church was not actually arrested — Hayden, Wilson, and Harrison apparently were — but none of the four players were charged. London Police say the matter is “resolved.” Rapoport says that the four men skipped out on a $64K bar tab, but that may have been due to a misunderstanding (video link). Apparently, expensive bottles of alcohol were being sent to their table, but they believed someone else was paying for them. They were therefore surprised when they were expected to pay. In any event, it seems this incident will not have any impact on the team or the players moving forward. Saturday, 9:15pm: The players arrested were Barry Church, D.J. Hayden, Jarrod Wilson, and Ronnie Harrison, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). All four players are defensive backs, which could explain why the team was so reluctant to name them in their statement. Jacksonville is already shorthanded in the secondary and can’t afford to be without both Church and Harrison, so they will almost certainly still play. Church, a safety, plays nearly every down while Harrison, also a safety, has seen his snaps increase in recent weeks. Hayden was already unlikely to play with an injury, and Wilson is a lightly-used special-teamer. Saturday, 9:05pm: Online reports from British tabloids began circulating that four Jaguars players had been arrested ahead of Jacksonville’s game in London, and now the team is confirming those reports, according to James Palmer of NFL Network (Twitter link). The Jaguars released a very brief statement acknowledging what happened, which reads as follows: “We are aware that four of our players were detained over restitution of a bill. The matter is being resolved and the players are with the team. Any discipline will be handled internally.” The statement is very light on details, and it hasn’t been reported yet which four players were detained. The original report from the British paper said the players were confronted by security at a nightclub and accused of trying to avoid paying their tab. While the team is clearly being intentionally vague, we should know more details soon. At this point, it’s unclear if the players will still play in the game against the Eagles tomorrow. No matter what happens, it’s an awful look for a club that’s been in disarray for weeks now, with the news breaking 12 hours before they’re set to kick off. The locker room has reportedly turned toxic, with multiple shouting matches breaking out after their most recent loss. Blake Bortles was benched and is now on a very short leash, and this is the last thing the team needs. The NFL has made expanding the game into the London market a major focal point in recent years, and the league office will likely be outraged at the optics. While the Jaguars have said any discipline will be internal, commissioner Roger Goodell may disagree. Rory Parks contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Jaguars have agreed to terms with cornerback D.J. Hayden, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (Twitter link). He’ll collect a three-year, $19MM deal which contains $9.5MM in guarantees and can max out at $21MM. Jacksonville has invested heavily in its secondary over the past few years, and has added corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye through the draft and free agency, respectively. However, the Jaguars aren’t able to keep everyone in their defensive backfield, and Tuesday they lost slot cornerback Aaron Colvin to the division-rival Texans. Colvin received $34MM over four years from Houston, so the Jaguars are saving quite a bit of cash and cap space by replacing him with Hayden. However, Jacksonville is also looking at a significant in talent, at least based on prior results. Although he’s a former No. 12 overall pick, Hayden has never lived up to the draft billing, and 2017 was no exception. Hayden ranked as a the No. 96 cornerback among 121 qualifiers a season ago, per Pro Football Focus. Colvin, meanwhile, finished 47th in the same grades, so Jacksonville should expect a downgrade in its slot performance. Hayden will be flanked by All-Pro caliber outside corners in Ramsey and Bouye, so it’s possible he’ll show improvement, but he’ll need to exceed expectations to do so. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Jaguars working on deal with cornerback D.J. Hayden, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (on Twitter). Hayden spent last season with the Lions. Jacksonville has invested heavily in its secondary over the past few years, and has added corners Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye through the draft and free agency, respectively. However, the Jaguars aren’t able to keep everyone in their defensive backfield, and today they lost slot cornerback Aaron Colvin to the division-rival Texans. Hayden, a former first-round pick, could take over Colvin’s old role if signed by the Jaguars. Hayden, 27, has never lived up to his draft billing, but it’s possible his performance could improve if he’s sandwiched by All-Pro corners on either side of him. That would entail a large step forward, however: Pro Football Focus graded Hayden as a bottom-30 corner among 121 qualifiers. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Despite joining many of his high-first-round peers from 2013 in not living up to their draft statuses, D.J. Hayden signed a one-year, $3.75MM deal from the Lions. He will be looking to bounce back after four inconsistent seasons with the Raiders. His former GM agrees that Hayden needed to go elsewhere. “I think he probably made a good decision by getting away from Oakland,” Reggie McKenzie told the Detroit Free Press at the NFL owners meetings last week. “Fresh start.” McKenzie considered making a push to re-sign the former No. 12 overall pick, and per the Free Press’ Dave Birkett, that might have happened if Hayden came at more of a discount. But the sixth-year Raiders GM concluded that if Hayden was going to reach his potential as an NFL corner he would have to leave Oakland. The injuries that dogged Hayden “killed his confidence,” per McKenzie. Hayden played in 16 games just once in his four Raider years, in 2015, and missed the final five games last season. The Lions are expected to give Hayden a quality opportunity to win their slot corner job alongside Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson. “All he lacked, and it’s hard coming from a near-death situation and being thrown right in and had a couple relapses because of the illness, but he was always playing behind the 8-ball from a physical standpoint,” McKenzie said. “So if he gets that behind him, his confidence will grow. He never, I think in his whole time in Oakland, the confidence for him to really thrive was not where it needed to be.” Here’s more from around league.
- The Titans may have a different view of Connecticut safety prospect Obi Melifonwu than some other teams. They worked out the UConn product today as a cornerback, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). The organization reportedly likes the 6-foot-4, 224-pound player’s size and cover skills. Melifonwu also has a 4.40-second 40-yard dash clocking, which is good for a corner while being excellent for a safety. The ex-Huskies back-line defender being envisioned as a corner isn’t merely a Titans viewpoint, though, with around 40 percent of NFL teams categorizing the safety this way.
- Adrian Peterson‘s Patriots visit strikes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk as a tactic aimed at getting LeGarrette Blount‘s attention. Noting New England’s secretive nature, this Monday summit being made public now and not after the fact leads Florio to believe this is a get-acquainted session at best. Florio writes this could be a method used at getting Blount to take what’s being offered instead of holding out for more money on the heels of an 18-touchdown season. Blount and the Patriots broke off talks last month.
- Prior to actually participating in Wrestlemania 33, Rob Gronkowski said he would be ready to go by the time the Patriots’ offseason program begins later this month, In an interview with ESPN’s Jonathan Coachman (video link), Gronk said he feels good after his latest surgery and would be “ready to roll” when the team reconvenes on April 17. The soon-to-be 28-year-old tight end underwent back surgery in December.
- Saints coach Sean Payton expects recovering linebacker Michael Mauti to be ready by the time training camp comes, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reports. Stricken with an intestinal disease, the 27-year-old linebacker did not play in eight Saints games last season because of it. He remains a UFA, but the Saints have interest in retaining the backup defender. Mauti contemplated having a surgery to fix this years-long problem last spring but opted against since he was going into a contract year. Energy and weight loss led to the Saints placing Mauti on their NFI list in November, and he underwent surgery in December. The team still paid him his full $675K salary last season. Mauti told Katzenstein he wants to continue his career with the Saints.
Let’s take a look the financial details of some recently-signed contracts:
- Mike Adams, S (Panthers): Two years, $4.2MM. $1.15MM guaranteed. $650K signing bonus. $00K available annually via Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle).
- Calais Campbell, DL (Jaguars): Four years, $60MM. $30MM guaranteed. $6MM signing bonus. Base salaries $9MM (guaranteed), $15MM (guaranteed), $12MM, $15MM. $3MM option bonus for 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
- Marcus Cooper, CB (Bears): Three years, $16MM. $8MM guaranteed. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1MM available annually in Pro Bowl and interception incentives (Twitter links via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
- Quintin Demps, S (Bears): Three years, $13.5MM. $5MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
- Ryan Griffin, TE (Texans): Three years, $9MM. $3.225MM guaranteed. Annual $100K workout base de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).
- D.J. Hayden, CB (Lions): One year, $3.75MM. $2.25MM guaranteed. $1MM signing bonus. $250K workout bonus. $1.5MM available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
- Ted Larsen, OL (Dolphins): Three years, $5.65MM. $1.75MM guaranteed. $1.25MM signing bonus. $500K escalator in 2018. $1MM escalator in 2019 (Twitter link via Wilson).
- Josh Robinson, CB (Buccaneers): Two years, $5M. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due on eighth day of 2017 league year. $1.75MM team option in 2018. $750K available via incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
- Cornelius Washington, DL (Lions): Two years, $5.825MM. $1.5MM signing bonus. $1.5MM guaranteed (link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press).
- Markus Wheaton, WR (Bears): Two years, $11MM. $5MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times)
- Terrance Williams, WR (Cowboys): Four years, $17MM. $9.5MM guaranteed. $5MM signing bonus. 2020 option season. Annual $200K workout base salary de-escalator (Twitter links via Wilson).