If the Kansas City Chiefs are going to lose Sean Smith in free agency they'll have Phillip Gaines coming back from an ACL tear to replace him. And if Gaines is coming back to replace Smith, he won't be available for slot cornerback duties.
The solution? How about Casey Hayward, the Green Bay Packers cornerback likely to hit free agency. Besides the all important (or not) connection to the Packers for GM John Dorsey, Hayward is one of the better slot corners expected to be available in March. If it means Ron Parker can play safety rather than slot corner, I'm all for considering him.
I asked SB Nation's Packers blog, Acme Packing Company, what we should know about Hayward.
"If you're looking for a slot corner with good ball skills and short-area quickness, Casey Hayward is your guy," Tex over at Acme Packing Company told us. "If you need a player who can play on the outside and has the size and long speed to keep up with the league's bigger and faster receivers, look elsewhere."
Hayward is listed at 5'11 and 192 pounds. Not quite the six feet that the Chiefs like but close. Chris Owens is a 5'9 slot corner the Chiefs signed a couple years ago while Dunta Robinson was just 5'10.
"Hayward has proven over the past few years that he is quite productive on the slot, but those skills have not translated to the perimeter," Tex wrote. "Given the early successes of 2015 draft picks Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins and Sam Shields' long-term extension in 2014, Hayward is unlikely to re-sign with Green Bay before free agency opens, and we expect that somebody will pay him pretty well as their third corner - certainly more than Ted Thompson will be willing to spend."
The Chiefs will have salary cap cash available but they also have a lot of their own free agents they want to sign, including Eric Berry. We don't know where things stand with Sean Smith but if they don't re-sign there has to be some sort of move at corner.