Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers
1. Outside cornerback is already thin for the LA Chargers
I previously mentioned that cornerback is one of the pressing needs for the LA Chargers this offseason and a big reason why is the drop-off of Hayward’s play last season. That is not the only reason, though.
First of all, the position is already pretty thin as constructed because the team failed to add depth in the 2020 NFL Draft when they really should have. But hey, at least we can watch Joshua Kelley get three yards per run!
It could be even thinner if Michael Davis does not re-sign with the team. Because of the need, Davis is arguably the most important free agent for the Chargers this offseason and re-signing him is huge. If they don’t re-sign him they have to sign someone else to fill his spot. If they do sign him, they should still bring in help.
This is why Hayward is going to stick around. The Chargers need more help at outside corner, not less help, and cutting Hayward does not really accomplish much for the biggest position need that they have.
Because if they cut Hayward they are going to end up signing a different veteran cornerback that will likely have the exact same regression as Hayward, so what is the point? Also, because offensive line is such a huge need for the Bolts, the chances of them landing a bonafide CB1 in the draft is extremely slim.
They are not going to get Patrick Surtain or Caleb Farley in the draft and I would not be totally shocked if they don’t go cornerback in the second round, either.
I just don’t see the Chargers cutting Hayward so they can sign a different veteran free-agent corner to a similar contract, likely for multiple seasons. Might as well keep Hayward around as another body for the rookie cornerback to learn from and provide the needed depth in case of injury.
And hey, if last year really was an anomaly (I do not think it was) then Hayward would be producing for the Chargers, not somewhere else.