Connecting the dots, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton deemed Dallas the “best fit” for former Packers and Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, who would reunite with head coach Mike McCarthy and defensive backs coach Joe Whitt Jr. — all of whom are familiar from their time in Green Bay.
Should the Cowboys eschew a first-round CB, Moton posits, Hayward becomes a viable, if not probable, target for Whitt’s secondary and new coordinator Dan Quinn’s defense.
With the 10th pick, the Cowboys can select the first cornerback in the 2021 draft, whether it’s Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II or South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. On the other hand, Dallas could add a known commodity for immediate improvement in coverage.
Hayward can reunite with Mike McCarthy, his former Green Bay Packers head coach, and play in defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s system, which is similar to ex-Chargers play-caller Gus Bradley’s scheme. The two coordinators have roots in Seattle under lead skipper Pete Carroll.
In Dallas, Hayward will see a familiar face, fits the system, and most importantly, fills a need.
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Background on Hayward
A 2012 second-round selection, the Vanderbilt product broke into the pros with the Packers, tallying 134 solo tackles, 34 pass deflections, nine interceptions and one defensive touchdown across 51 games (20 starts) from 2012-15. He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team after his six-INT inaugural campaign.
Hayward’s best season came in 2016, when he defected to the Chargers, signing a three-year deal worth over $15 million. He led the NFL with six picks, earning Pro Bowl recognition and second-team All-Pro honors. The Georgia native added another four interceptions in 2017 and again was voted to the Pro Bowl and named a second-team All-Pro.
Father Time, as he tends to do, might be catching up with Hayward, 31, who’s recorded a combined three INTs since 2018. A hamstring injury limited him to 13 games last season, his first non-16-game year since 2013. The Chargers released Hayward on March 13.
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This is, by count, the third time Hayward has been linked to the Cowboys and perpetual star-chasing owner Jerry Jones. The Dallas Morning News suggested a potential marriage on the day of Hayward’s release and, more recently, Sports Illustrated furthered Moton’s idea of a post-draft agreement between the sides.
“Casey Hayward was one who got away for Packers when joining Chargers, having his best career production with franchise. Cowboys are now in CB market. Mike McCarthy, Joe Whitt Jr. both coached Hayward in Green Bay,” beat reporter Michael Gehlken tweeted March 13.
“It’s always nice to have a little bit of veteran presence in your secondary, and the Cowboys currently have young Trevon Diggs, and then Jourdan Lewis (in the slot) and Anthony Brown,” Mike Fisher of CowboysSI.com wrote April 21.
“They need help. With the shine of Richard Sherman seemingly losing its luster, there is another name. And while we don’t yet have the Cowboys nodding their heads to this (our Mike Fisher has asked …) we say he’s the perfect fit.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL