The Chargers announced on Saturday afternoon that they have parted ways with cornerback Casey Hayward. This latest move frees up $9.75 million in cap space. Hayward has been with the team since 2016, when he decided to leave Green Bay and become a Bolt.
Since arriving with the team, Hayward was a leader right off the bat, helping turn the secondary into one of the best in the league. He earned pro bowl honors twice (2016, 2017) and was also the interception leader in the NFL in 2016 with seven.
"Casey is the consummate professional and a shining example for everyone who aspires to play in the NFL," said general manager Tom Telesco in the statement.
Hayward is loved in the organization and even received high praise from his general manager in a statement thanking him for his five seasons.
"While the decision to add Casey to the team was obviously one of the best free-agent signings we have ever made," said Telesco in the statement.
This probably has been the best free-agent signing of Telesco's tenure.
Last season was a forgetful one for Hayward. He wasn't the same player, but it could have been due to an injury. There were numerous games he came out in the fourth quarter and wouldn't return.
Brandon Staley is coming in as the new head coach and seems to have a vision for what he wants at the cornerback position. Most likely, he wants to get faster at the position because this team has to face certain receivers like Tyreek Hill, Henry Ruggs III, and Jerry Jeudy twice.
The team released right guard Trai Turner on Friday and Hayward on Saturday, saving the team about $21 million in cap. They now have around $43 million to spend in free agency. It seems like they could be gearing up to be active in free agency, whether it is with their own free agents or around the NFL. There have been several cuts and a lot of good options at key positions of need.
As for Hayward, he will bounce back quickly. Expect the Las Vegas Raiders to try to bring him in because former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and secondaries coach Ron Milus are there now.
"I've known for a couple of days. I know they were seeing if they could trade me, wanting to keep my salary the same. I'm definitely open to new possibilities now. I want to play at least a couple more years," said Hayward to NFL reporter Josina Anderson in a phone conversation.