Source: Atlanta Falcons add veteran CB Casey Hayward Jr. to young secondary

ByMichael Rothstein via ESPN logo
Thursday, March 17, 2022

The Atlanta Falcons are adding a former Pro Bowler to their secondary, agreeing to a contract with cornerback Casey Hayward Jr., a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

The news was first reported by NFL Network, which said Hayward agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract.

Hayward joins a young secondary with the Falcons and could end up replacing veteran Fabian Moreau, who the team signed to a one-year deal last season. He could be a good No. 2 corner to emerging star corner A.J. Terrell and mentor to second-year corners Darren Hall and Avery Williams, both of whom ended up having to play more than expected due to injuries to various corners throughout last year.

Hayward is Atlanta's first outside signing of this free-agency period.

Hayward, who turns 33 in September, was a revelation for the Las Vegas Raiders after signing a one-year, $2.5 million guaranteed free-agent deal to reunite with then-Las Vegas defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. The two had been together with the Los Angeles Chargers the previous four seasons. Bradley is now with the Indianapolis Colts as their defensive coordinator.

Hayward was one of Pro Football Focus' highest-graded corners as he played at a Pro Bowl level for much of the season, starting all 17 games, and finished with an interception and nine passes defended, his most in a single season since 2017, when he had a career-best 22. His 46 tackles were also his most since he had 46 in 2018.

A second-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2012 and a two-time Pro Bowl selection for the Chargers, in 2016 and 2017, Hayward was also a mentor for the young Raiders secondary, especially for rookie slot cornerback Nate Hobbs.

He has 24 interceptions, 109 passes defended and 431 tackles in 10 NFL seasons.

ESPN's Paul Gutierrez contributed to this report.