LA Chargers: Five bold predictions for 2021 NFL free agency

2 of 5
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Prediction #2: Casey Hayward and Linval Joseph are released by the LA Chargers

We know Turner will be released, but that won’t be the end of cuts as I see it. There are three potential releases the Chargers can make to create space other than Turner. Those players are cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Chris Harris along with nose tackle Linval Joseph.

The new coaching staff has talked at length about Harris. He has ties to both head coach Brandon Staley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill from his Denver days.

The Chargers can save about $7.5 million by cutting him before free agency, but his positional versatility does fit the Staley scheme. Cornerbacks on the Rams this year had to move around on defense quite a bit, so having someone who can play both slot and outside is probably valuable for what Staley wants.

Hayward can technically play slot, but he’s older, coming off of an injury, and hasn’t played slot in six years. Even if the Chargers found a way to keep Hayward fully outside, there’s really no guarantee that he’s going to be better than he was last season.

While some will use his lingering groin injury to explain his rough season, it’s important to remember that he wasn’t playing well prior to the injury. The Bengals and Buccaneers had field days with Hayward in the first half of the season.

Another difference between Harris and Hayward is that the Chargers save $1.5 million more from cutting Hayward instead of Harris.

Joseph is the potential cut that I feel the most conflicted on. If it were me running the team, I personally wouldn’t cut him. At the same time, Telesco may see an opportunity to save $7 million and get younger at the position, either through free agency or the draft.

Before Wednesday afternoon, Joseph and Hayward will be part of “massacre week” along with Turner.