There were reports earlier in the week that the Las Vegas Raiders signed Casey Hayward to a contract. Those reports turned out to be inaccurate at first as he was still working through contract details. It appears the two sides have finally been able to come to a deal.
According to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Hayward will be a Raider this season.
Free Agent CB Casey Hayward just texted me he is signing with the #Raiders.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) May 4, 2021
Hayward spent the last five seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers. During that time, he was named to the Pro Bowl twice and was widely considered one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He’s fallen off a bit in recent years but he’s still a solid cornerback. The Raiders have been in the market for a veteran cornerback for some time and Hayward was one of the better ones available. With his addition, that should close the door on a possible Richard Sherman signing. Hayward probably isn’t as good as Sherman right now, but he’s likely going to cost a lot less money.
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This Move Makes a Lot of Sense for Raiders
Hayward’s days as a shutdown cornerback are probably behind him. He’s 31-years-old and hasn’t made a Pro Bowl since 2017. However, this is a smart move for the Raiders. Prior to the signing, they didn’t have a solid veteran cornerback on the roster. Nevin Lawson is OK but he’s suspended for the first two games of the season and doesn’t have a ton of upside.
Also, Hayward just spent four years getting coached by new Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Implementing a new system can be tough for some young players so having Hayward around should help with the learning process. He should be a key piece for the silver and black this season.
Raiders Should Be Feeling Better About Secondary
Even with the Raiders signing Hayward, they will still be relying heavily on youth in the secondary. The team wants Trayvon Mullen and Damon Arnette to hold down the starting spots, but it’s good to have a guy like Hayward around if those two continue to struggle. Las Vegas has had pass defense issues for years but things are looking up.
The team snagged Trevon Moehrig in the second round of the draft and he’s the presumptive starter. Many considered him the top safety prospect in the draft and the Raiders were able to get him in the second round. If he is as good as advertised, the team finally has a long-term starter at free safety.
The Raiders should be feeling better about their secondary but there are still variables. Johnathan Abram was supposed to be a stud but he was really bad last year. The talent is there but he makes a lot of mistakes. Mullen also showed some flashes last season. He wasn’t as good towards the end of the season but there’s reason to be optimistic. Arnette didn’t show much last year but he was banged up. A season at full strength could be all he needed.
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