One of the most popular players for the LA Chargers in recent history was none other than cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. After a middling short tenure with the Green Bay Packers, the former second-round pick came to the Chargers and turned into one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
Hayward spent five seasons with the Bolts and was named a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro twice. However, he started to decline with his age and with Brandon Staley coming in and taking over the defense, Hayward became an obvious cap casualty for the Bolts after the 2020 season.
Hayward followed Gus Bradley to the Las Vegas Raiders and put together a strong season in 2021 that netted him a two-year, $11 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. After playing just six games for Atlanta in 2022, Hayward was recently released by the Falcons to save $5 million against the cap for the 2023 season.
The veteran cornerback is now looking for a home for what will be his age-34 season. What better place to potentially have his last Swan song in the league than with the team that put him on the map in the first place?
Chargers reuniting with Casey Hayward Jr. makes sense for both parties
There is nothing wrong with having too much cornerback depth on defense and while Hayward may not perfectly fit into Brandon Staley's defensive scheme on paper, he still can be a valuable veteran presence to add to the room for depth purposes.
Should the Chargers be adding Hayward with the intention of being him a critically important member of the defense? No. But if the team drafts a corner in the 2023 NFL Draft and still needs one more body to replace those that have left then Hayward could be the cheap post-draft signing that makes a difference.
It worked with Bryce Callahan last season as he played a huge role on the team. Granted, he had ties to Staley and was a bit younger than Hayward will be in 2023, but it proved that you can still find value in a veteran corner if you put them in the right situation.
Hayward still has value as a veteran depth piece, especially with how deep Staley likes his cornerback rooms with the team gearing up to stop the passing attack. Hayward probably has more to offer than some random seventh-round corner that the Chargers draft because they ran a quick 40-yard dash time at the combine.
And for Hayward, he can tie a nice bow on his great NFL career while giving back to the team that gave so much to him while also competing as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. It is a win-win, and most of all, the fans would get behind it 100%.