Casey Hayward Jr.’s release is freeing up cap space for the Chargers. This was just another big move made since the hiring of new head coach Brandon Staley. Hayward’s release comes just 24 hours after the release of Trai Turner. These two moves create almost $21 million in cap space. Turner’s release freed up about $11 million, and the release of Hayward frees up about $10 million.
Casey Hayward Jr. Release Is Freeing up Cap Space For The Chargers
Casey Hayward’s Stats
Hayward came to the Chargers in 2016 as a free agent from the Packers, where he played his first four years. Hayward had an immediate impact on the team from the beginning. He played 75 out of 78 games and led the league in interceptions during his first season. He was a two-time Pro-Bowler, making the Pro-Bowl in back-to-back seasons 2016 and 2017. Hayward was also selected as a second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press. In 2017 Casey Hayward was also the Chargers nominee for Walter Payton Man of The Year. During the 2017 season, Hayward made Defensive player of the Month, for the month of November.
In the 2020 season, Hayward was named as a team captain for the Chargers, but his stats were non-impressive. Hayward allowed career-highs in pass completions, yards, and touchdowns allowed. His missed tackle percentage doubled compared to the previous season, 18 percent from 8.6 percent. This is a big decline when you compare to his first two seasons when the Chargers were still in San Diego.
In those two seasons, Hayward accounted for seven picks in 2016, which led the league. He registered four more in 2017. Both of these stats plus his combined 42 pass break-ups over those seasons led to his Pro-Bowl appearances. In Hayward’s last three seasons as a Los Angeles Charger, he only had three picks, and 24 PBU’s for the entire three seasons.
Haywards Release Business Related
Hayward’s release was not solely based on his stats for the last three years. Moreso based on moves the Chargers are making under Staley to build a team around Justin Herbert. One reason given for the release is that the defensive scheme is shifting to a cover 2. Which is not a good fit for Hayward.
The main reason is strictly business. Hayward signed a $15.3 million dollar contract in 2016 when he first came to the Chargers. In 2018 he signed a three-year $36 million extension. He was set to account for $11.75 million against the new 2021 cap. By releasing Hayward the Chargers now have cap space to play with in securing a future around Justin Herbert.
Haywards Possible Free Agents Replacements
Given the newly acquired cap space, a free-agent replacement for the Chargers would have to be a good fit. Three possible prospects would be Darious Williams from the Rams since he played complementary to Ramsey and Hill, he’ll have a reasonable price tag if the Rams don’t resign due to low cap space (after the completion of this article, Williams was given a first-round tender by the Rams).
A reconnection with Desmond King now that Anthony Lynn is gone, and Brandon Staley is running the ship. This might be a long shot, but after his performance with the Titans, and his cap value he might be worth a look.
J.C. Jackson would be another fit for the Chargers if giving up a first-round pick is an option, and the Patriots put a first-round tender on Jackson. All these guys are in their mid 20’s and could offer long-term value.
Haywards Possible Draft Replacements
Looking at the Chargers draft possibilities for replacing Hayward, the Chargers are in a position where they could acquire a top 10 cornerback within the second round. Where the Chargers sit at the beginning of the second, they could still have the possibility of acquiring a top 10 cornerback like Jaycee Horn, or Asante Samuel Jr. Even with the signings of Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler, the Chargers should still focus on Offensive Line in the first round.
Casey Hayward Jr. Will Be Missed
The release of Casey Hayward Jr. no doubt is leaving a hole on the Chargers defense that needs addressing. Hayward was not just a team captain, he was also someone who guys looked up to on and off the field. Also at his peak, he was probably one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Hayward displayed character, and class that presented the Chargers well. He will be missed by the Chargers organization and fans, but one thing is for sure, we will see him on the field somewhere this upcoming season.