It’s almost that time of year again — in fact for 30 of the 32 teams in the NFL the offseason has already arrived. The Green Bay Packers are among those teams and in the coming weeks they will have some critical decisions to make about the future of their football team.
Green Bay has a number of key free agents that are set to hit the open market and with that I am starting a new series that will make a pros and cons argument against re-signing a player or letting him walk. I will also include a prediction of what I believe will happen in the end.
The first player that I will analyze in this series is fourth-year cornerback Casey Hayward, who will be one of the more interesting Packer free agents to monitor.
Pros: After missing all of the 2013 season due to injury, Hayward bounced back nicely the past two seasons playing in every single game. He has proven that he can remain healthy and when he is on the field, he has demonstrated the he is a solid slot corner.
The former Vanderbilt product has nine interceptions and 35 passes defensed during his career and this past season he also finished with a career-high 55 tackles. His tackling has greatly improved over the past couple of seasons and even though he lacks elite speed, he is a sub-package corner that can play either man or zone effectively.
Cons: While Hayward’s numbers sound great, he did most of the damage in his rookie season when he intercepted six passes and broke up 21 others. Since then, he has notched just three picks and 14 passes defensed.
Part of that had to do with injury and the fact that in 2014 he played only about 40 percent of the snaps. Yet even that season he intercepted three passes. This past season, he intercepted none and had just six passes defensed.
However, the biggest con about re-signing Hayward may be money. Good corners don’t hit the market very often and even though the former second round pick isn’t great, it only takes one team to view him as a starter to overpay for his services. And with the development on Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, it just doesn’t seem necessary unless the price is just right.
Prediction: As much as I hate to say it I think there is less than a 50 percent chance Hayward stays and that only happens if he is willing to accept less money and probably less playing time to stay in Green Bay.