Casey Hayward

49ers Work Out CB Casey Hayward, Expect Arik Armstead Back For Playoffs

Jason Verrett ran into yet another unfortunate setback last week, suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in practice. The 49ers are looking at adding another veteran cornerback as insurance.

Enter Casey Hayward, whom KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson notes worked out for the 49ers on Tuesday. Hayward, 34, has not played this season. But the 49ers, as their continued Verrett interest and past in-season additions show, place value on veteran corners in the event of injuries to regulars. They again want a veteran corner on their practice squad, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows.

San Francisco brought in the likes of Jackrabbit Jenkins, Josh Norman, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard from 2021-22; that group joined Verrett, whom the team continued to prioritize in recent offseasons despite his near-annual injury troubles. Hayward spent last season with the Falcons, but the team cut him early during the 2023 offseason.

The former Packers, Chargers and Raiders cover man played well in 2021, garnering a two-year, $11MM Atlanta agreement in March 2022. But he sustained a shoulder injury that limited him to six games last season. A 118-game starter who played on five straight Gus Bradley-run defenses from 2017-21, Hayward was medically cleared this summer. The 49ers are in fairly good shape at corner, with Charvarius Ward making the Pro Bowl and Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and ex-Hayward Falcons teammate Isaiah Oliver in place as sidekicks.

More relevant to the No. 1-seeded team’s Super Bowl chase: Arik Armstead appears set to return from his latest injury trouble. The veteran defensive tackle has missed the past five games due to foot and knee injuries. Armstead will practice this week, and Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch) he could have played against the Rams — had the team needed to win its regular-season finale. A ninth-year 49er, Armstead has been pivotal to the team’s Nick Bosa-era D-lines. He is set to team with Bosa, Javon Hargrave and Chase Young upon returning for the divisional round.

The 49ers also designated safety George Odum for return from IR,’s Nick Wagoner tweets. Odum, used primarily on special teams during his San Francisco tenure, suffered a biceps injury on Thanksgiving. While that malady was expected to sideline the former All-Pro for the season’s remainder, Odum will be in play to return for the 49ers’ divisional-round game.

The news on safety Tayler Hawkins and defensive end Clelin Ferrell is not as good. Ferrell is likely to miss a few weeks due to a knee injury, Shanahan said. The seventh-year HC did stop short of saying this is a season-ending setback, however. Despite the arrivals of Young and Randy Gregory, Ferrell — who had drifted to healthy-scratch status at points with the Raiders — has started all 17 games this season. Hawkins, a rookie UDFA who made his NFL debut in Sunday’s nonessential Rams tilt, suffered a season-ending wrist injury, the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman notes.

Shanahan added Drake Jackson, who has been on IR since November with a knee injury, is not healthy enough to practice. In the event Odum comes back and Jackson is healthy enough to return, the 49ers are in good shape for injury activations. After using all eight of their IR-return moves during the regular season last year, they have five activations left.

Free Agent CB Casey Hayward Medically Cleared

Veteran cornerback Casey Hayward signed a two-year contract with the Falcons during the 2022 offseason but played just six games for the club before suffering a shoulder injury that ended his first season in Atlanta prematurely. Shortly after the Falcons swung a trade for former No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah in April, the club released Hayward with a failed physical designation.

According to Ian Rapoport of, Hayward has received full medical clearance and is ready to take part in his 12th NFL season. As of the time of this writing, there has been no reported interest in his services, but once Week 1 is in the books, that could change.

As a vested veteran, Hayward’s full 2023 salary would have been guaranteed if he were on an active roster for Week 1. Since that will not be the case, an interested club could sign him for what would likely be a modest sum and, if necessary, release him with minimal financial ramifications.

Given Hayward’s track record and the league-wide need for cornerback help, it would be fair to expect Hayward to find a new employer soon. In his last full season in 2021, Hayward started all 17 of the Raiders’ regular season contests, recording 46 tackles and nine passes defensed. Pro Football Focus considered him a top-15 corner that year, and he parlayed that performance into the above-referenced deal with Atlanta.

The Packers draftee, who just turned 34 yesterday, is unlikely to return to the elite form he exhibited during his peak years with the Chargers. During his five-year tenure with the Bolts from 2016-2020, Hayward earned two Pro Bowl nods, and he led the league with seven interceptions in 2016.

Still, Hayward yielded a meager 80.7 QB rating on passes thrown in his direction during his brief time with the Falcons last year, making it clear that he has something left in the tank. Even if he were to be deployed on more of a rotational basis, he could certainly be an asset to any number of CB depth charts.

Ravens Not Likely To Push For CB Marcus Peters

When veteran cornerback Marcus Peters‘s contract expired at the end of the season, the starting cornerback spot across from Marlon Humphrey became a big point of concern for Ravens fans. Aside from times when one or the other was injured, Peters and Humphrey have manned the boundary corner positions in Baltimore together since 2019. While not completely out of the realm of possibility, it’s not looking likely to continue into 2023, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

In a mailbag Q&A, Zrebiec fielded several questions from fans inquiring about the likelihood of Peters returning to Baltimore. Peters struggled a bit in his return from an ACL tear that held him out of the entire 2021 season. He still served as a starting-caliber cornerback that could limit damage, but his playmaking, shutdown defense was nowhere to be found in 2022. Now two years removed from seeing Peters playing his best football, the Ravens haven’t shown any sign of prioritizing the return of the 30-year-old.

Peters visited the Raiders in mid-May and has remained in close contact with the team, but as of yet, no deal seems certain. Zrebiec points out that there’s no risk in Peters waiting. Better offers or opportunities may still come his way and, until camps start, there’s truly no rush.

In Baltimore, the Ravens eventually addressed the hole in the roster by signing Rock Ya-Sin. Ya-Sin doesn’t have the resume that Peters does, but he’s younger and has shown better football more recently than Peters. Even with Ya-Sin on the roster, Baltimore still didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing Peters back. They know he fits in the locker room, but in order for him to return, he’s going to have to be realistic on his value.

In a market bereft of lockdown, star cornerback talent, Peters may be one of the top options, but he’s not so good that he’ll earn past his value. The Ravens could certainly still make a different addition to the room before training camp. Several veterans remain free agents, such as Ronald Darby, Byron Jones, Bryce Callahan, Casey Hayward, and former Raven Anthony Averett. If Peters isn’t willing to meet the Ravens halfway on a new contract, Baltimore has plenty of other avenues they can explore.

The team also seems to like what they have in house right now, even going so far as to move Brandon Stephens back to his rookie position of safety following a season at cornerback last year. They’re hoping to see big jumps in the sophomore seasons of Damarion Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis and know they have serviceable depth pieces in Daryl Worley and Kevon Seymour. They also re-signed Trayvon Mullen and added Kyu Blu Kelly in the fifth round of the draft. They may want to bolster the room with a veteran who can slot in as CB3 still, but if they miss out on Peters because of value, they won’t beat themselves up too much over it.

So, for now, it appears most likely that Peters is Vegas bound. He appears to be waiting out the options, and the Ravens appear to be open to his return without pushing past their limits. A return to Baltimore isn’t impossible, but it will need to feel right with both sides.

Falcons Release CB Casey Hayward

Casey Hayward saw an injury stop his first Falcons season after six games. The team will cut ties with the veteran cornerback, announcing the release Friday afternoon. The release comes with a failed physical designation, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets.

Atlanta will pick up $5MM in cap space by releasing Hayward, who has 11 NFL seasons on his resume. This cut comes days after the Falcons agreed on a trade for former Lions No. 3 overall pick Jeff Okudah. The team also signed Mike Hughes in free agency. As the Falcons transition to DC Ryan Nielsen, their secondary will re-emerge a bit younger.

As the Falcons struggled to pressure quarterbacks, their secondary did not fare well last season. Hayward’s injury left a host of lower-end investments stationed alongside AJ Terrell at corner, and the Falcons ranked 25th in pass defense. Terrell remains Atlanta’s secondary anchor, but he will be joined by a host of new cover men — including safety Jessie Bates — next season. Darren Hall, a 2021 fourth-round pick who started nine games last season, also remains under contract.

Hayward, 33, suffered a shoulder injury and underwent in-season surgery that ended up shutting him down. The Falcons gave the accomplished corner a two-year, $11MM deal to come over from the Raiders, but they are now the second team in three offseasons to cut the former Packers draftee. The Chargers ended Hayward’s successful tenure after five seasons in 2021.

The Raiders received solid production from Hayward in 2021; Pro Football Focus graded the former Pro Bowler as a top-15 corner. Gus Bradley‘s Raiders hire helped lead Hayward to Vegas, after he had spent four seasons under Bradley in Los Angeles. The Chargers made Hayward one of their better free agent signings in team history back in 2016, prying him from Green Bay on a midlevel accord. Hayward made the next two Pro Bowls, the first after intercepting an NFL-most seven passes, and earned a three-year, $33.25MM Bolts extension. Hayward started 75 games for the Chargers from 2016-20.

While the Colts traded a soon-to-be 33-year-old Stephon Gilmore to the Cowboys, opening a secondary job under Bradley, teams do not show much eagerness to add mid-30-something corners. Only Hayward, ex-Chargers teammate Chris Harris, Jackrabbit Jenkins and Josh Norman played at age 33 or older last season. Of that quartet, Hayward was the only one on a roster in Week 1. As of Friday, every corner on an NFL roster was born in either the 1990s or 2000s.

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Hayward, Wirfs

Next year’s running back market stands to feature a glut of starter-caliber options. Even if the Giants and Raiders respectively keep Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs from hitting free agency, potential first-time free agents Miles Sanders, Tony Pollard, David Montgomery, Damien Harris, Devin Singletary and Alexander Mattison are unsigned through 2023. Ditto Kareem Hunt, who is expected to hit the market after the Browns held off on a deadline trade. Jeff Wilson and Jamaal Williams would also be intriguing second-go-round UFAs, but the Panthers have a player in a similar position.

D’Onta Foreman signed a one-year, $2MM deal to relocate from Charlotte to Nashville this offseason, and he has continued his Titans pace. Christian McCaffrey‘s replacement, who ended up being Derrick Henry‘s top fill-in last year, now has seven 100-yard games over his past 13. Teams are monitoring the former third-round pick’s status, according to Jeremy Fowler of The Panthers have Chuba Hubbard signed through 2024, and although they are likely to change coaching staffs come January, Foreman makes sense as a re-sign candidate. Despite being a 2017 draftee, he is just 26. And thanks to a lengthy hiatus that covered much of a three-year stretch from 2018-20, the ex-Texas Longhorn only has 366 career carries. That bodes well for more quality seasons being ahead.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Casey Hayward has been on IR since mid-October; he has been eligible to return for a bit now. But the Falcons cornerback is not a lock to come back this year, per’s Scott Bair, who notes the 11th-year veteran underwent shoulder surgery after hitting the injured list. Hayward and the Saints’ Chris Harris are the NFL’s oldest active-roster cornerbacks, at 33, and the former represents a key defender for a team gunning for an unexpected division title. Hayward signed a two-year, $11MM deal to come over from Las Vegas. The Falcons have used second-year man Darren Hall in his place. Pro Football Focus does rank Hall, a fourth-round pick out of San Diego State, 35th overall among corners this season.
  • The Buccaneers are expected to be without Tristan Wirfs for a bit because of a high ankle sprain. While the team is hoping the All-Pro right tackle can return in three or four weeks, Fowler adds the third-year blocker could be facing a five- or six-week absence. Some ligament damage occurred, per Fowler, but Wirfs is not expected to need surgery. This timetable would put run up against the end of the regular season, though the Bucs have not placed Wirfs on IR yet.
  • Whereas Foreman’s free agency stock is rising, Baker Mayfield‘s keeps tumbling. Steve Wilks announced Sam Darnold will start in Week 14 against the Seahawks but stopped short of declaring Mayfield the backup, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Mayfield’s QB2 status depends on P.J. Walker‘s health, according to Wilks. This certainly points to Wilks having more confidence in the ex-XFLer. Despite pushing for Offensive Rookie of the Year acclaim and playing a lead role in snapping one of major American sports’ longest playoff droughts two years later, Mayfield will likely need to sign a one-year deal and attempt to prove himself once again. Mayfield, 27, remains last in QBR among qualified starters.

Falcons Move CB Casey Hayward To IR

Off to a 3-3 start that places them in a tie atop the NFC South, the Falcons will be tasked with staying on that pace without one of their starting cornerbacks. Casey Hayward is now on IR.

The Falcons moved the free agency acquisition to their injured list because of a shoulder injury. Arthur Smith said Monday the team worried about this injury affecting Hayward for a while. He will be out at least four weeks because of the ailment.

At 33, Hayward joins the Saints’ Chris Harris as the NFL’s oldest active corners. The Falcons signed Hayward to a two-year, $11MM deal this offseason and have used him as a starter opposite A.J. Terrell. The former Packers draftee has made 118 career starts and is now with his fourth franchise, having teamed with Gus Bradley with both the Chargers and Raiders. Pro Football Focus graded Hayward as a top-15 corner in 2021; the advanced metrics site has assigned him a middle-of-the-pack mark (50th) thus far this season.

This Hayward news comes just after the Falcons brought Isaiah Oliver off IR. Terrell suffered a thigh injury during the team’s win over the 49ers, but he remains on Atlanta’s active roster. The Falcons are still in good shape, activations-wise, having only used one of their eight IR-return spots this season. Hayward figures to be one of Atlanta’s IR-return moves this year. The team passed on activating Deion Jones from IR, instead trading the veteran linebacker to the Browns.

Darren Hall and Dee Alford were in for Hayward and Terrell against San Francisco, and’s Tori McElhaney expects the former to take over for Hayward alongside Terrell. A fourth-round 2021 draft choice out of San Diego State, Hall played a season-high 38 defensive snaps against the 49ers.

Falcons To Sign Casey Hayward

The Falcons have agreed to sign Casey Hayward (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). The veteran cornerback will receive a two-year, $11MM deal, keeping him under club control through the 2023 season. 

[RELATED: Falcons, Saints Chasing Watson]

Hayward spent the past five seasons with the Chargers, up until he was released in 2021. At the time, the move came as a surprise. Hayward’s first deal with the Bolts — three years, $15.3MM — produced two Pro Bowls and a second-team All-Pro nod. Ultimately, they bailed on the rest of his three-year, $34.25MM re-up, leading him to the rival Raiders.

Hayward, 33 in September, led the NFL with seven INTs in 2016. He’s slowed down a bit in recent years, though he did start in all 17 of his Raiders games last year, notching 46 tackles, one interception, three tackles for loss, nine passes defensed, and a safety.

The move will help to fortify the Falcons’ secondary, though Heyward is likely ticketed for a supporting role. The Falcons are still expected to target CB help in the draft next month, where they could use the No. 8 overall pick to take a top-ranked cover man like Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Raiders Activate CB Mullen From IR

Trayvon Mullen is primed for a return to action as the Raiders have announced that he’s been activated from injured reserve today. Las Vegas had designated the former second-round pick to return from injured reserve a little over a week ago.

Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia had made a statement saying, “[Mullen] wants to be in a position where he feels like he’s ready to go and he’s not at 70 percent or 80 percent,” so Mullen’s activation should indicate a return to full health for the Raiders’ starting cornerback.

While the Raiders will certainly be happy to have a bit more depth to a cornerback room that was looking fairly slim with Mullen injured and Damon Arnette‘s release, Mullen’s absence has allowed Las Vegas to test out some of the corners they had available. Even after losing Mullen and Arnette after only four games, the Raiders knew they had experience in ten-year veteran Casey Hayward and liked what they saw in rookie fifth-round pick Nate Hobbs. They did take action, reaching out to sign Hayward’s former teammate, Brandon Facyson, off the Chargers’ practice squad to help fill out the room. The signing has paid off as they’ve seen Facyson start their last six games as Hobbs continues to develop as a pro.

Adding Mullen to the mix strengthens an already impressive position group for the Raiders’ defense. Mullen’s activation was joined by defensive tackle Darius Philon‘s activation off injured reserve. Las Vegas also announced the signing of linebacker Will Compton to the active roster and the release of defensive tackle Damion Square. From the practice squad wide receiver Tyron Johnson, linebacker Javin White, and running back Trey Ragas have been called up for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.

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.