D.J. Hayden deal was a ‘head-scratcher’ according to ESPN


The Jacksonville Jaguars have been quite successful in free agency over the last two seasons, but the contract they gave CB D.J. Hayden has left some scratching their heads.

For the first time in a long time, the Jacksonville Jaguars had to made some hard decisions this offseason over which players to re-sign or not. Unfortunately, the team had to let two homegrown talents – Allen Robinson and Aaron Colvin – walk in free agency.

To try and alleviate those losses, the Jaguars have signed a couple of guys in their stead – Donte Moncrief and D.J. Hayden.

Both players are somewhat of a gamble – talented guys who haven’t produced to the level many expected when they first came in the league. Monetarily, they’re high risk, but not many are convinced they are also high reward.

Gordon McGuinness, an ESPN contributor over from Pro Football Focus, recently categorized the recent free agent signings and he didn’t not have a flattering classification for the contract the Jaguars gave their newest cornerback:

"Biggest head-scratcherCB D.J Hayden, Jacksonville JaguarsThe good news for Jaguars fans is that Hayden is coming off a season in which he produced the second-highest PFF grade of his career. The bad news is that the grade was only 50.7. He also committed five penalties and missed six tackles on just 488 snaps. Since entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick in 2013, Hayden has allowed an NFL passer rating over 100.0 on throws into his coverage, so it was a lot of money to pay for a player who has yet to live up to his draft billing."

There isn’t much nuance to this analysis – McGuinness thinks Hayden is a bad player and the Jaguars overpaid for him.

Fair enough, but Hayden seems to finally have a defined role as a slot corner and he’ll be playing on easily the best defense he’s ever been on. Hayden had high expectations coming out of the draft because he was a high selection, and there’s a reasonable chance he’ll thrive in a more limited role.

That being said, the Jaguars did pay quite a bit of money for a player that has already bounced around to his third team.