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 NFL.com, 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.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Lions, Hockenson

Rashan Gary is all set to debut in Week 1, completing his recovery from the ACL tear that ended his 2022 season in November. But the Packers will begin their top pass rusher on a pitch count to start the season, Matt LaFleur confirmed (via Packers Wire’s Zach Kruse). This could open the door for early-season Lukas Van Ness development. The Packers still roster Preston Smith, who is going into his fifth season with the team, and Van Ness contributed as an inside and outside rusher at Iowa. The team has versatile linebacker Justin Hollins and 2022 fifth-rounder Kingsley Enagbare, who became a primary starter after Gary went down last season, as options while Gary ramps up to a full workload.

Additionally on the Green Bay injury front, David Bakhtiari, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are viewed as game-time decisions for Sunday’s opener against the Bears. Bakhtiari, who has seen knee trouble sidetrack his career to a degree over the past two-plus years, is listed on the injury report with more knee trouble. He expects to play, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein tweets. Both starting receivers are battling hamstring maladies and have not practiced this week. Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • As for tonight’s game, the Lions ruled out cornerback Emmanuel Moseley. Although Detroit activated Moseley off its active/PUP list before roster-cutdown day, the free agency addition underwent a second knee procedure this summer and was viewed as a long shot to start the year on time. Moseley is finishing up a recovery from an October 2022 ACL tear.
  • Isaiah Buggs started 13 games at nose tackle for last season’s Lions edition, but the veteran was informed in advance he would be a healthy scratch tonight, the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers notes. The Lions gave Buggs a two-year, $4.5MM deal in March but gave more snaps to rookie Brodric Martin and Benito Jones during camp. Buggs believes his lack of offseason attendance affected the team’s decision, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. The former Steelers contributor said his wife giving birth led to him staying away during OTAs. Jones and Alim McNeill are expected to start in Kansas City, Birkett adds.
  • Going into free agency, the Bears did extensive work on Dre’Mont Jones, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune notes. Although the Bears carried plenty of cap space into free agency, they chose to stand down on Jones and spend for the likes of Tremaine Edmunds, Nate Davis, T.J. Edwards and DeMarcus Walker. The team later addressed its D-tackle needs in the draft, choosing three — Zacch Pickens (Round 2), Gervon Dexter (Round 3) and Travis Bell (Round 7) — on Day 2. This duo should be expected to play bigger roles down the line, but in Week 1, Justin Jones and Andrew Billings are slated to start. A four-year Broncos regular, Jones ended up with the Seahawks on a three-year, $51MM deal.
  • T.J. Hockenson‘s four-year, $66MM Vikings extension comes with $29.29MM fully guaranteed, according to OverTheCap. That number checks in fourth among tight ends — behind Kyle Pitts‘ rookie deal and the extensions for Mark Andrews and George Kittle. Hockenson’s 2024 base salary is fully guaranteed. His $10.9MM 2025 base salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who notes that number shifts to a full guarantee a year early (March 2024). The Vikings did not use the year-out guarantee structure for Hockenson’s 2026 setup, giving them more flexibility. Hockenson has $2.3MM of his 2026 base ($15.4MM) guaranteed for injury; it does not shift to a full guarantee until March 2026, giving the Vikings additional flexibility. Hockenson’s cap number will climb from $5MM this year to $14.1MM in 2024, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Pinnock, Cowboys

The Eagles both signed five-year starter Terrell Edmunds and used a third-round pick on Sydney Brown. Both safeties factor into the team’s plans, but they are not outflanking Reed Blankenship thus far through training camp. Blankenship has been a first-team mainstay, per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, who adds Edmunds and Brown have rotated at the other safety spot. Indeed, The Athletic’s Zach Berman notes Blankenship — a 2022 UDFA out of Middle Tennessee State — has been the Eagles’ top safety in camp (subscription required).

This reminds of Marcus Epps‘ rise last year. Despite the Eagles re-signing Anthony Harris and adding Jaquiski Tartt in 2022, Epps earned a starting job — one that eventually led to a two-year, $12MM Raiders payday. The Eagles brought in C.J. Gardner-Johnson via trade just before last season. That transaction could signal none of Philly’s safeties should be too comfortable, but Blankenship — Gardner-Johnson’s injury sub last year who played 291 defensive snaps — looks like the best bet to start among the in-house group.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Staying on the subject of safeties in this division, the Giants may be moving toward giving Jason Pinnock the starting job alongside Xavier McKinney. A Jets fifth-round pick in 2021, Pinnock started five games for the Giants last year, operating as McKinney’s injury fill-in. He has received consistent first-team work in camp, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan notes. Pinnock has distanced himself from Dane Belton and veteran Bobby McCain, having been Big Blue’s first-teamer since the fourth training camp practice. The Giants, who lost Julian Love in free agency, claimed Pinnock shortly after the Jets waived the converted cornerback on cutdown day last year. Two seasons remain on Pinnock’s rookie contract.
  • Malik Hooker‘s 2023 Cowboys cap hit climbed from $4.32MM to $4.57MM as a result of his recent extension, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. The incentives in the three-year, $21MM contract include $500K bumps involving playing time and INT production. Five picks and the Cowboys making the playoffs would result in a $500K increase, Archer adds, noting the other incentive requires Hooker to play 85% of Dallas’ defensive snaps and the team to make the postseason (Twitter link).
  • The Cowboys, who turned Micah Parsons from an off-ball linebacker to a fearsome edge rusher, are giving Leighton Vander Esch some reps on the edge, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes. While the sixth-year linebacker received sparse edge work in games last season, Gehlken adds this is the first time he has received extensive instruction in a defensive end role. Rostering Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler and Sam Williams, the Cowboys are much deeper on the edge than at linebacker. It would stand to reason LVE’s role will likely remain mostly as an off-ball defender.
  • The Giants recently added longtime safety Mike Adams to their coaching staff, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets. A 16-year veteran, Adams will replace Anthony Blevins as the Giants’ assistant defensive backs coach, the New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard adds (on Twitter). Adams, 42, hung up his cleats after the 2019 season. Blevins left the Giants during the summer to accept an XFL HC position.
  • While Devon Allen did not see any game action for the Eagles last season, Berman writes the two-time Olympian hurdler is in play to make the team as a backup this year. Allen, 28, has not played in a game since working as an Oregon slot receiver in 2016. Shifting to track full-time proved beneficial for Allen, who is one of the best 110-meter hurdlers in U.S. history. But he opted to give football another try last year. He suffered an injury at the U.S. Championships last month, exiting the 110 hurdles competition before the finals in order to preserve his body for his second Eagles camp. The Eagles activated Allen from the PUP list Tuesday.
  • Given a reserve/futures deal along with Allen in February, Matt Leo landed on the Eagles’ reserve/retired list last month. The team hired the former practice squad defensive end a defensive and football operations assistant.

Keep Up With NHL Free Agency At Pro Hockey Rumors

NHL free agency is about to begin, and Pro Hockey Rumors (@ProHockeyRumors on Twitter) is your go-to source for all the breaking news, rumors, and transactions involving all 32 teams in the league.

In the weeks leading up to free agency, we’ve already witnessed a flurry of trade activity that has set the stage for what promises to be an exciting offseason. Former All-Stars and marquee players like Alex DeBrincat, Connor Hellebuyck, and Mark Scheifele have been at the center of trade speculation as teams look to make big moves and reshape their rosters for the upcoming season in a tight salary cap environment.

One of the most surprising moves so far was the trade that sent original expansion draft selection Reilly Smith from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Smith, who sits near the top of many franchise leaderboards for Vegas, was not expecting to be on the move, but the Penguins acquired the veteran fresh off a Stanley Cup so that Vegas had the cap room to re-sign Ivan Barbashev to a long-term extension.

But keeping up with free agency, there are several intriguing names hitting the market this year. Veteran forward Matt Duchene, who was bought out by the Nashville Predators yesterday, is expected to draw significant interest from contending teams looking to bolster their top-six forward group. There’s also one of the greatest American-born players of all time available in former Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, who’s coming off a hip resurfacing procedure that could impact his market value. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov is also one of the top players available after a strong end to the season with the record-setting Boston Bruins.

Pro Hockey Rumors will be your one-stop destination for all the latest updates on these stories and more. Our writing team will provide comprehensive coverage of the free agency frenzy as teams look to make key acquisitions and bring their 2023-24 rosters into focus. Stay tuned to Pro Hockey Rumors on Twitter – @ProHockeyRumors – for real-time updates and analysis. The NHL offseason is about to heat up, and we’ll be there every step of the way to keep you informed and entertained.

Check Out The Latest On NBA Free Agency At Hoops Rumors

NBA free agency officially got underway yesterday evening, and our sister site Hoops Rumors has all the latest news, rumors and transactions for each of the league’s 30 teams.

39 players reportedly signed contracts yesterday, including seven players receiving nine-figure deals. Three contract extensions are also in the works, including a couple of rookie scale max extensions for Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane.

This morning, we’ve already seen a three-team sign-and-trade that will send Max Strus to the Cavaliers after a strong playoff run with the Heat, while reigning EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov will be coming stateside, agreeing to a three-year, $20MM contract with the Kings.

Plenty of players on our top-50 free agents list are still on the board, including a couple of former All-Stars in D’Angelo Russell and Brook Lopez. And we’re still awaiting news on former MVP James Harden‘s next destination after he requested yet another trade.

For the latest updates on those stories and more, check out Hoops Rumors today! There will be a whirlwind of activity over the next couple of weeks as teams reshape their rosters for next season, and we’ll be covering it all. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter – @HoopsRumors.

Follow NBA Free Agency At Hoops Rumors

NBA free agency kicks off this evening at 5:o0 p.m. CT, and our sister site Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors on Twitter) has all the latest news, rumors and transactions for each of the league’s 30 teams.

We’ve already seen quite a bit of trade activity in the weeks leading up to free agency, including blockbuster deals involving former All-Stars like Chris Paul, Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis, as well as the 2021/22 Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart. Young veterans on pricey multiyear contracts (Jordan Poole, John Collins) have also changed teams.

There were several surprises yesterday, including 10-time All-Star and former league MVP James Harden exercising his $35.6MM player option with the Sixers. However, instead of staying with Philadelphia, he’s working alongside the club to find a new team via trade, which would mark his fourth team in four years.

While this free agent class may not have as much top-end talent as some previous years, it’s deep with quality players and features several highly accomplished veterans, including Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton and Fred VanVleet, among others. One of the hot names on the market is Nuggets guard/forward Bruce Brown, who helped Denver win its first championship earlier this month.

For the latest updates on those stories and more, check out Hoops Rumors today! There will be a whirlwind of activity over the next couple of weeks as teams reshape their rosters for next season, and we’ll be covering it all. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter – @HoopsRumors.

Follow Pro Hockey Rumors For NHL Draft Coverage

The first round of the 2023 NHL Draft starts tonight, and Pro Hockey Rumors is your destination for draft coverage, trades, and rumors throughout the two-day event!

Last season saw a few big names moved at the draft, and we’re expected to see some more big moves over the coming days. Some big-time news has already come in, such as 2016 top-five pick Pierre-Luc Dubois heading to Los Angeles and the New Jersey Devils locking in Timo Meier on a massive extension.
The Chicago Blackhawks hold tonight’s first overall pick, and they’ll be the lucky team where the most coveted prospect in nearly a decade will start his career. Center Connor Bedard is in the conversation with Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Auston Matthews as a true generational talent.
The Anaheim Ducks hold the second pick and are expected to draft University of Michigan center Adam Fantilli, who became only the third freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker Award for the top player in college hockey. There’s some room for surprise, though, especially with Russian forward Matvei Michkov. Michkov is widely regarded to be the best prospect out of Russia since Ovechkin, but could fall out of the first few selections given his contract status overseas and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine – potentially to Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals, who hold the eighth overall pick.
Pro Hockey Rumors will have coverage of all of the above, keeping track of draft selections as they come in while keeping you updated on trades, signings, and rumors. It’s the busiest time of the year for NHL fans, so keep up with Pro Hockey Rumors and follow @ProHockeyRumors on Twitter for instant analysis on every move!

Check Out Hoops Rumors For NBA Draft Coverage

The 2023 NBA draft is tomorrow night at 7:00 pm CT, and Hoops Rumors has all the latest news and rumors! Last offseason saw the majority of the league’s 30 teams involved in trades for coveted draft picks, and the expectation is that Thursday could be even more action-packed. We’ve already seen two deals leading up to the draft, including a blockbuster involving a couple multi-time All-Stars, but that was just the tip of the iceberg, because the rumor mill is buzzing about several other possibilities.

There’s no mystery with the first overall pick, as the Spurs will take French big man Victor Wembanyama, who has been widely hailed as the top prospect since LeBron James was the No. 1 pick 20 years ago. However, there’s a significant amount of uncertainty for the remainder of the first round, including the other projected top-three picks — Charlotte is reportedly still weighing whether to select Alabama’s Brandon Miller or G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson at No. 2.

The Hornets, Trail Blazers (No. 3), Rockets (No. 4) and Pistons (No. 5) are all reportedly open to moving their draft picks in the right deal, which is rare. All of the teams just below them — the Magic (Nos. 6 and 11), Pacers (Nos. 7, 26, 29), Wizards (No. 8), Jazz (Nos. 9, 16, 28) and Mavericks (No. 10) — have been linked to trade rumors as well. We’ll soon find out if any of those selections will be headed elsewhere.

Over at Hoops Rumors, we’ll be keeping tabs on all the latest NBA news and rumors ahead of the draft, in addition to tracking each of this year’s 58 draft picks. With the draft nearly upon us and free agency only nine days away, this is the most eventful time of year for the NBA rumor mill, so be sure to visit Hoops Rumors and follow @HoopsRumors on Twitter for all the latest updates!

Harry Kane Eyeing Future NFL Playing Career

In 2015, English soccer star Harry Kane stated that he wanted to attempt playing as a kicker in the NFL at some point in the future. His recent remarks on the subject confirm that his intentions on that front remain the same.

“It’s something I want to definitely explore,” Kane said during an appearance on Good Morning America (video link). “I know it’ll be a lot of hard work. I’m not expecting to just walk up and start kicking field goals. It will be a lot of practice, a lot of hard work but, yeah, it’s something I’d love to do. The NFL is something I’ve been following for about 10 years now, and I love it. So, would love to give it a go.”

Kane has been with English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur since 2012, and has enjoyed considerable individual success during his career. He ranks second all time in Premier League goals, and has led the league in scoring three times. A mainstay in international competition, Kane’s 55 goals place him first in England’s history.

The 29-year-old has made it clear that any hypothetical move to the NFL would only come after his soccer career has ended. Given his age and production, it should be several years until he reaches that point, though only one season remains on his current contract. Aside from the obvious obstacles to his goal becoming reality, finances could represent a factor dissuading him from making a serious commitment to the NFL.

Kane has earned 10.4 million British pounds (nearly $13MM) in annual salary since 2018, a far greater total than any NFL kicker has ever made. Five players at the position currently average $5MM or more per season, while Justin Tucker is the league’s only $6MM-per-year kicker. Kane would thus be in line for a signficant step down in compensation (relative to where it currently stands, at least) if or when he were to end his current career in favor of an NFL gig.

Players with backgrounds in other sports (particularly rugby and Australian rules football) have had NFL careers, but Kane would face a considerable challenge in attempting to develop into a consistent enough kicker to remain in the league for any notable length of time. Doing so is clearly part of his long-term agenda, though, so his actions taken after his soccer career ends will be worth watching.

NFC West Notes: Carter, Cards, Rams, 49ers

Closely connected to Jalen Carter ahead of the draft, the Seahawks decided to select Devon Witherspoon at No. 5. The Lions were believed to be targeting the Illinois cornerback at No. 6, and Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com notes the Seahawks were pleased rumors circulated they were eyeing Carter at 5. That said, some among the Seahawks did make a late push for the Georgia defensive tackle, per Dunne, who adds some teams viewed the polarizing prospect as “unapologetic” regarding the off-field incident that docked his draft stock. Carter faced misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing — in connection with a fatal crash that killed two members of Georgia’s football program in January — but said he did not encounter extensive questioning from teams about the January scene. The Eagles are not believed to have inquired deeply about the event.

Pete Carroll was believed to be onboard with the Seahawks drafting Carter, but the team passed on one of this draft’s top talents. They were not alone in doing so. The Lions were prepared to draft Jahmyr Gibbs over Carter, before the Cardinals sent them a trade offer for 6, and the Raiders and Falcons passed as well. The Bears, who were eyeing D-line additions in the draft, traded out of No. 9 to allow the Eagles to land this class’ top D-tackle. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Cardinalstrade-up to No. 6 completed their Paris Johnson acquisition effort. After being tied to the Ohio State prospect in the days leading up to the draft, Arizona will likely move him into its starting lineup immediately. Johnson earned his high prospect ranking as a tackle, but Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic notes the Cardinals have not determined if the ex-Buckeyes blocker will start his pro career at tackle or guard. Johnson played guard in both 2020 and ’21, being a full-time starter at that position as a sophomore, before sliding to left tackle last season. The Cards have both their top tackles — D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum — under contract and re-signed Will Hernandez this offseason. Josh Jones, a guard who slid to tackle to replace an injured Humphries, remains rostered as well. Regardless of where Johnson starts his career, he is expected to become the Cards’ long-term left tackle, McManaman adds.
  • Staying on the topic of Cardinals positional uncertainty, Zaven Collins began working as an edge rusher when the team convened for its offseason work, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com notes. The 2021 first-round pick spent his first two NFL seasons as an off-ball linebacker, but the Cardinals have Isaiah Simmons and the recently added Kyzir White — who followed HC Jonathan Gannon from Philadelphia — at the ILB spots. While Collins played 785 snaps at linebacker last season, he did line up as a D-lineman on 182 plays.
  • With Gannon and Cards DC Nick Rallis departing Philly, the Eagles hired Matt Patricia. Prior to that relocation, Patricia spoke with the Rams about a role on Sean McVay‘s staff, Albert Breer of SI.com writes. Patricia, who interviewed for the Broncos’ DC job and was on the radar for another role on Sean Payton‘s staff, has only previously coached for two teams (the Patriots and Lions) throughout a 19-year NFL career.
  • The 49ers added Brandon Allen as their fourth quarterback. While Allen would not be part of San Francisco’s active roster if every other QB on the team was fully healthy, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco notes the team gave the ex-Bengals QB2 $200K guaranteed. Allen spent most of the past three seasons as Joe Burrow‘s backup. While the 49ers have Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold on their roster, Purdy is not expected to be cleared until potentially September and Lance has been involved in trade rumors to the point John Lynch felt compelled to address those with the former No. 3 overall pick.