Jason LaCanfora reports this afternoon that former Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons. The Colts released Hayden shortly after the NFL lockout ended this summer, and it was widely reported as a salary cap move. After watching him flail through free agency, though, I’m not so sure about that take.
While Hayden hasn’t been productive enough to merit the nearly $9 million that he was scheduled to make this season, the Colts saved only about $1 million in cap space by releasing him. So this may have been a straight salary deal for the club, but Hayden visited multiple teams and had extensive workouts over the last month or so without any takers. Towards the end of last season, he landed on the Injured Reserve list with a neck injury, and it’s possible that the Bears, Redskins, Raiders and Vikings all passed on Hayden thanks to that owie. We’re all too familiar around here with the lingering effects of neck problems, right?
The fact that the Colts didn’t bring Hayden back after he fell through the FA cracks is probably also not a good sign for him, but I suppose the Falcons must have invested some effort in verifying his health before signing him. He was a playoff and Super Bowl hero for the `Shoes, and I wish him well in Atlanta, as long as it’s not at Indy’s expense.
There is some non-zero chance, after all, that the Colts could face former teammates in successive games next winter. The road home to the championship could conceivably feature Bob Sanders and the San Diego Chargers in the AFC title game, followed by Kelvin Hayden and the Falcons in the Super Bowl. It’s far-fetched, sure, but there is a certain poetry to that scenario that makes it irresistible to ponder.