Atlanta Falcons shouldn’t consider cutting Casey Hayward
One of the Atlanta Falcons’ biggest 2022 off-season signings was bringing veteran corner Casey Hayward in to pair with A.J. Terrell. The team brought back Isaiah Oliver as well providing the team with the best depth they had at corner in the last three seasons. Hayward’s season was a major disappointment, however, with Casey’s season ending early due to injury.
Hayward is under contract for the 2023 season but could be considered a cap causality considering how the 2022 went. Cutting Hayward would save the Falcons $5 million against the cap and open up the ability for Dee Alford or another young corner to earn playing time opposite Terrell.
Cutting Hayward is the wrong move for an Atlanta team that needs a veteran corner they can count on to help their young position group. Hayward was solid when healthy for Atlanta and could thrive under Atlanta’s new defensive leadership.
After Terrell, the Falcons have zero proven corners with Isaiah Oliver set to hit free agency and little known about the depth behind him. Alford and Darren Hall both showed flashes of improvement but shouldn’t be Atlanta’s primary options heading into the season.
Bringing back Hayward and re-signing Oliver would allow the Falcons to focus on fixing the lack of pass rush that has plagued this team over the past five seasons. Atlanta’s corners were put under far too much pressure and asked to cover opposing receivers for unrealistic amounts of time due to the issues with the pass rush. Bringing back Atlanta’s 2022 depth chart at corner is a great move for a team that needs to have their complete focus on building an offense around Desmond Ridder and adding depth and talent along the defensive line. Hayward’s 2022 was a letdown but the veteran corner has far too impressive of a career not to bring back in the final year of his deal.