Packers should bring back Casey Hayward in 2021

Casey Hayward (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Casey Hayward (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

One of the Green Bay Packers‘ biggest mistakes in free agency over the past few years was to let Casey Hayward walk in 2016.

The Packers were confident in their young cornerbacks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, and it proved to be a bad call. Hayward signed with the Los Angeles Chargers, where he quickly established himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league.

Twice a Pro Bowler and twice a second-team All-Pro with the Chargers, Hayward showed the Packers what they were missing as their secondary struggled.

Cornerback became a major need. Green Bay drafted Kevin King in the second round in 2017, Jaire Alexander in the first round in ’18, and Josh Jackson in the second round the same year. They also re-signed Tramon Williams.

Alexander has developed into an All-Pro, while Jackson hasn’t seen extensive playing time. King, while re-signed to a one-year deal, has been a solid player at his best but makes far too many mistakes.

The need for cornerback is there again. Perhaps a reunion with Hayward could help.

The 31-year-old became a cap casualty earlier this month and he remains a free agent. While Hayward’s best years might be behind him, he’s still a talented player with plenty of experience, and it would be fun to see him start opposite Alexander.

Hayward had two excellent seasons in 2016 and ’17. He combined for 42 pass defenses and 11 interceptions in that time. While he hasn’t reached that level since, he’s still a good player.

Alexander is a star, and with Hayward and King signed to short-term deals, the Packers would have good depth at cornerback. They could then draft a corner who could start out as a backup before developing into a starter for 2022.

Cornerback is the Packers’ top need. Re-signing King shouldn’t change that.

Brian Gutekunst should give Hayward a call.