Las Vegas Raiders: AFC South 2021 free agents to ‘steal’
DJ Hayden could make a surprise return to the Raiders
I know this one sounds a little crazy considering how disappointing of a pick that DJ Hayden turned out to be in Oakland but just hear me out. Similar to Robert Gallery, who failed at tackle but excelled at guard, DJ Hayden has turned out to be a solid slot corner after not panning out as an outside corner for the Raiders.
Hayden had an injury-plagued 2020 where he featured in just five games for the worst team in football, but by most measures, he had excellent 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. PFF graded him at 74.8 in 2018 and 76.9 in 2019, both in the top tier in his position group.
The case for Hayden is similar to the case for Desmond King, as he could come in and compete for the slot corner position, or just provide a veteran presence to a young secondary. Hayden is in his 30s now and is a free agent after his sizable deal with the Jaguars ended, so he could be willing to accept a lower salary to latch on after his abbreviated 2020 season.
There may be some bad blood between Hayden and the Raiders, but the regime that drafted him is no longer running the show, and he may want to right some of the wrongs from his first stint with the Silver and Black. This would be an under-the-radar signing but could provide solid depth to a group that needs it.