Cornerback Casey Hayward sat on the market for a few days, but landed with the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, according to Rand Getlin of NFL Network, who reported it's a three-year, $15.3 million deal.
A second-round pick in 2012, Hayward burst onto the scene as a rookie with the Green Bay Packers. He quickly won a job as the slot cornerback and had six interceptions to go along with 21 passes defended and 53 tackles. Hayward's 2013 season was ruined by injuries, but he came back in 2014 to play all 16 games and got another three interceptions. The Packers have lots of depth at cornerback with Sam Shields, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, so they let Hayward walk this year after his rookie contract expired.
While Hayward didn't pick off any passes last season, he continued to be a top-shelf cover corner, recording 65 tackles and seven passes defended. He's an elite slot player, but also has the versatility to play on the outside, which made him a valuable asset on the free agent market. Hayward is still 26 years old and may have his best years ahead of him.
The Chargers have a talented young cornerback in Jason Verrett on one side, but received inconsistent play from Brandon Flowers on the other. Flowers was replaced by Patrick Robinson and eventually finished the year on injured reserve, but Robinson is now a free agent. Adding Hayward should help the Chargers get over the loss of Robinson and could provide the team with another starter, or at the very least, a contributor in the slot.