The Jacksonville Jaguars have had their first free agent signing of the 2013 NFL Free Agency period. Outside linebacker Geno Hayes, most recently of the Chicago Bears, has reached an agreement with the team as of Wednesday.
#Jaguars have signed free agent LB Geno Hayes. Four years with Tampa Bay and one with Chicago. Story and video soon
— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) March 13, 2013
The Jaguars are thin at outside linebacker, particularly because of Daryl Smith hitting free agency. Hayes has experience as both the weak side and strong side linebacker and is quick with good range. At the end of last season, he played better as the strong side linebacker with the Bears. He played in Chicago under new Jags defensive coordinator Bob Babich.
Before being with the Bears, Hayes spent four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started 42 games for the Bucs from 2009-2011. He had good years in 2009 and 2010 but had a decline during the 2011 season. He comes to the Jags with seven sacks, 265 career tackles, and 45 games started. He should provide some young, veteran leadership for a team looking to get younger.
I like the pickup and I think that Hayes is a player the Jags could plug in at a slim position. He seems like just the kind of player that GM Dave Caldwell said would be a bridge for the Jaguars. If he can replicate games more like his 2010 season, he may end up as more than just a bridge.
Hayes played his college ball at Florida State and is from Greenville, Florida.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims