Keep An Eye On Kelvin Hayden

February 27th, 2014

Joe realizes many Bucs fans are in denial. They can’t imagine that half their current beloved Buccaneers won’t be around these parts when opening day arrives.

These fans are certain Lovie Smith just needs to coach up underperforming Bucs and life will be good.

But the reality is the Bucs are primed for a Chiefs-like housecleaning. Kansas City blew out more than 30 players last offseason while re-tooling its roster, one that had a strong base of talent, much like the Bucs have now.

Lovie Smith is a veteran head coach with a veteran defensive coordinator. And every veteran head coach wants his guys, men he trusts, men who know his system, and men who can lead young players.

Joe’s invested plenty of time studying who Lovie might be targeting in free agency, and one name to watch is cornerback Kelvin Hayden.

Hayden was a Father Dungy second-round draft pick of Indianapolis back in 2005. Some guy named Leslie Frazier was his position coach. Hayden impressed Father Dungy enough to earn a five-year, $43 million contract before the 2009 season. Two years later, Atlanta signed him as a free agent, one of the many one-year, post-lockout deals. Hayden showed enough in Atlanta to catch the Bears’ eye, and he played every game for Lovie’s Chicago defense in 2012.

Hayden transitioned under Lovie to nickel cornerback and was retained after Lovie was ousted following the Bears’ 10-6 finish.

Last year, Hayden tore his hamstring in the preseason, needed surgery and was lost for the year.

A pending free agent, Hayden will turn 31 this summer and he’s going to be inexpensive coming off an injury. Joe sees Hayden as a prime target for the Bucs. Hayden likely represents an upgrade to the Bucs’ cornerback depth chart. He’s versatile, has loads of playoff experience, and his history with the Bucs’ staff is too great to ignore.

Assuming Hayden is healthy, he’s the perfect candidate to compete in training camp. Please don’t tell Joe that Leonard Johnson is on the cusp of greatness and magically will thrive under the new regime. That’s like dreaming that the Bucs have quality edge pass rushers on the roster now.

61 Responses to “Keep An Eye On Kelvin Hayden”

  1. Patrick in VA Says:

    Sounds like somebody I wouldn’t mind giving a shot. LJ is good for special teams but he is left in the dust on way too many plays. Seemed like every big pass play showed Johnson either missing a tackle or getting burned in coverage

  2. Chef Paul Says:

    I know it’s the nature of the beast, and I’m fine with that. But if we do get rid of 30 players like the Chiefs did, I’m sure I’ll be deeply saddened by at least a few of the guys let go. But in Lovie I trust. Bring on the purge!

  3. Capt. Tim Says:

    Only half?
    I’m still watching the games( explains the waves of nausea).
    We have 6 great players. 5 that may become great players.(meybe)

    Um, that’s about it
    The rest are less than average.
    Good luck Coach

  4. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I’m all for upgrading talent and giving guys a chance, but a 31 yr old corner coming off a torn hammy who missed all of last season? Not to sound too negative, but that’s a pretty tough road to climb! That being said…I hope he proves me wrong and I’d welcome any player that can make the Bucs better in 2014!

  5. adamant Says:

    Capt Tim…who are the 6 great players in your opinion? I can come up with 5…McCoy, David, Revis, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson…who am I missing?
    Goldson, I guess could be considered great because of his play in SF, but here, he was not great.

  6. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    Saddened? I will have a huge grin on my face when the first wave of cuts are announced. We extracted the Dominick cancer, but, many results of the cancer have survived. Continue the purge.

  7. Lue0615 Says:

    I think he would be a good vet to add to the depth

  8. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Joe, the Bucs won’t clean house like that. Let’s be real. Yes, I could see it on oline and at DE, but not 30 players. Maybe 5-6 starters tops.

    “Hayden impressed Father Dungy enough to earn a five-year, $43 million contract…”

    And he was cut 2years later because he failed to live up to that contract.

    The guy is too old now anyway.

    Couple of things. First, of course Joe’s being real. Lovie will make sweeping changes. Second, Joe’s not looking for Hayden to be a savior. But he’s an example of guys who will be brought in here to upgrade the overall talent level.–Joe

  9. Chef Paul Says:

    Yes, saddened. Not angered. Not banging my beer on the bar mad. If we get rid 30 guys, most likely I will have liked at least a few of them.

    For example, if we traded or cut or didn’t re-sign Clayborn, Joseph, Watson, Cassillas, or Lorig, that would bum me out. But again, I’m OK with that.

  10. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    adamant, you are forgetting the younger players that will probably become good as well.

    Spence played better in his rookie year than Roy Miller did…ever. Banks had a better rookie year than ANY of Barber’s first 4 years.

    Not to mention Mark Barron, who has improve steadily and will likely thrive under Lovie. Clayborn had a bad year, but he will probably thrive with Lovie as well.

    Then there are Mike James, Bobby Rainey, Mike Williams and Zuttah.

    There are plenty of good to great players on this team.

  11. BucsfaninChina Says:

    I just don’t get the appeal of Leonard Johnson. Yeah he’s a local good guy, undrafted, had a couple crucial picks in 2012 – but man, all the guy does is get beat. Certainly not what I would call quality depth and though he is young and cheap I just dont see him on the roster on day one.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I guess we’ll agree to disagree, Joe. I see changes coming, but not to the degree you seem to be suggesting.

    Also, the Bucs just started selling enough tickets. Sweeping changes like that might set ticket sales back a couple years.

    Plus we are two picks short this year. I highly doubt they will go eagle-crazy and sign a ton of free agents.

    Perhaps they will make a lot of changes, but I just doubt they will to that degree in thir first year.

  13. Barry Says:

    Bucs seem to be Happy with Glennon. JM sliding. Bucs move down in the draft. Bucs redo DR contract and save against the cap.

  14. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Bonzai – i don’t think the guys that would be cut, by and large, are the ones people are buying tickets to see. It would be mostly depth guys and the lower end starters. It might be names you recognize but I know that Bowers, Johnson, or T’eo Nesheim aren’t the ones that people are picking up tickets to see

  15. Tomcin Says:

    I’m thinking more like 20 players.

  16. DallasBuc Says:

    Joe- with all the talk about half the roster being turned over, why don’t we also hear the dreaded “rebuilding” word from you media types and why aren’t you asking the regime about it?…especially when we don’t have a single QB on the roster that is considered part of future success? We frequently hear from you that this is a win-now roster. Not if half is being tossed and our best chance at QB is not currently on the roster…

    There is win-now talent that must be maximized with a deeper supporting cast. Joe’s not the one overhauling, just pointing out the reality of what’s coming. Frankly, the Bucs aren’t in a true rebuilding mode. More of a retooling. Joe doubts Lovie would have taken the job if the cupboard was bare. –Joe

  17. Patrick in VA Says:

    Looks like things between Steve Smith and the Panthers are souring. Thoughts on the Bucs snagging him up if he’s let go? He’s older but he seems like he’d want to stick it to the Panthers if he feels like he was poorly treated by them.

  18. Joseph Mamma Says:

    One thing I would like to add. The Chiefs had the quick turnaround I believe because of the smart hires in their front office and their coaching staff, namely the impressive assistant coaches Reid hired. That and their additional personnel additions and subtractions. If Lovie made the right hires for his assistant coaches/new GM then we have a chance as well. If not then we’ll stay mediocre.

  19. Eric Says:

    And of those five Revis and Jackson have a short shelf life.

    Really Gerald, Martin, David are the ones who are good and in a position to be around when this thing turns around under Lovie.

    Lots of work to do.

  20. BigMacAttack Says:

    Eric, agreed

  21. Bucsfanman Says:

    Patrick- I would take Steve Smith in a heart-beat. Can you imagine him in the slot?!There are few receivers with his tenacity and work ethic and I would venture to say that landing with the Bucs would exact revenge on the team that dissed him.
    Hayden would certainly be an interesting signing if healthy. One thing is for sure we lack depth at that position and he would be an upgrade(if healthy!).

  22. Nate_tweetz Says:

    I will not be shedding any tears or losing any sleep if half of this roster gets the boot. I can easily see that happening. We might have one of the worst roster depths in the league. I see a handful of starters, but the rest will be Dominick’s pet projects that he loved to hang on to and accumulate like an old lady buying gobs of gas station scratch offs. Hoping one of them will be a $5 winner. lol. Good riddance. L&L (Lovie & Licht) are going to be evaluating talent and tape with no bias or emotional ties. That is what needs to be done.

  23. biff barker Says:

    The easiest way to turn this team around is to turn this roster over.
    We have far to many underachievers here.

  24. zam Says:

    I’m not overly impressed with Jonhtnan Banks either, so any depth at CB would be welcome.

  25. Eric Says:

    That was great reporting under the radar guy that joe is researching I totally agree with the roster turn over by the way!

  26. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We absolutely need some depth….CB, LB, WR, TE, O-line, D-line, QB, S…..everywhere but RB.
    We need quality depth that will challenge the starters.
    I expect the purge will be less than thirty….probably more like 15 players…but if its more, that’s OK by me.

  27. THETRUTH Says:

    5 so called great players is not bad, how many great players does each team have 22, I dont think so, usually 3 ON EACH SIDE ..

    I struggle with LJ at corner, try to believe in him but he is always getting beat maybe change of system will work for him..

    Please remember RONDE was awful the first 2 years he was getting torched all the time.. Lynch didnt even start for a few years until he wavered on playing pro baseball.. sometimes it takes a few years and the right system.

    restructure the contract of the entire OLINE and free up money!!!
    Dont mind Revis getting paid he is top 2 in league.. maybe you can give him a different contract that benefits both him and team but DO NOT GET RID OF HIM!!! we will have NO corners to cover the 3 wideouts each team in our division put play..

  28. Couch Fan Says:

    I have no doubts the 30 men on the bottom half of the roster will be replaced. Along with a few starters.

  29. Eric Says:

    Well if you think of what the team would look like in 2016 the Revis trade makes sense.

    Say we could get a low first rounder, from a contending team. And we keep our 3rd. And we have some money to spend perhaps on a younger stud DL. Or shore up our Oline.

    Long term it is the smart move.

  30. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Just as long as they don’t cut Underwood and bring him back……TWICE!

  31. Daffy Buc Says:

    LJ looks like he is racing Usain Bolt. I think Licht and Love clear 10 million more in cap space. Our depth was horrible so 50 % turnover sounds good. Chiefs are in great shape after their purge.

  32. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ DallasBuc

    Lovie has said something along the lines of he doesn’t believe in a “rebuilding year” and they are looking to win now.

  33. Andrew 1 Says:

    I believe it was in his introductory press conference.

  34. OB Says:

    Joe, will they cut them first or bring the FAs in first or a combination of both for those on the cusp?

    It should also be said some were great but Father Time has caught up with them.

  35. Celly Says:

    As long as its Tillman and Hayden, i’m fine with it.

    Tillman is the one i really want.

  36. $acbuc$ Says:

    D’Qwell Jackson got released Lovie Get Him

  37. Brandon Says:

    Coming off a torn hamstring at 31? That’s a particularly troubling injury for a speed reliant position. If we can get a sweetheart of a deal I’m fine, but putting eggs in his basket is a risky proposition.

  38. Chrisfresh23 Says:

    We can always use more talent.. Other then revis we have hardly no experience at corner and Jonathan banks and Leonard Johnson almost always getting burnt on deep crucial pass plays….

  39. DallasBuc Says:

    Andrew- are you and Joe saying that tossing half the roster with NO quarterback is not rebuilding? And you are letting Lovie get away with suggesting the same? Wow there is a lot of willful denial and wishful thinking going on around here. Lame

    Calm down. The semantics of retooling and rebuilding can be argued all night long. Who cares? Lovie will bring in a boatload of new players. That should keep surprising people.–Joe

  40. SAMCRO Says:

    I would rather have Peanut before Hayden.

  41. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ DallasBuc

    What? honestly, I wasnt suggesting any of that. You asked what the regime thought about “rebuilding” and I gave you the answer. Your welcome.

  42. Andrew 1 Says:

    imo, I dont think half the roster will be turned over, but who knows.

  43. DallasBuc Says:

    I am perfectly calm. Was just asking why what we are looking at with this team is not being called what it is.
    Joe you are the only one that tried to make this semantical.
    Andrew I did not ask what the regime thought about rebuilding. I would like for the media to start referring to it as rebuilding and find out why the regime would consider it anything else.
    Once again, if half the roster is gone and we either have a lousy vet, Glennon or a shiny new rookie at QB I don’t see how any other word fits.

  44. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ DallasBuc

    you asked “why aren’t you asking the regime about it?” The answer is because Lovie already answered it in his press conference! He doesn’t not believe in a “rebuilding year.” I’ll even take a step further, The way he reacted to the word “rebuilding”, he reacted like it was complete nonsense. Just because Joe and others in the media think half the roster will be turned over, it doesn’t mean Lovie and his regime are planning on doing that. If half the roster is gone, then yea, I can see how some might think its a rebuilding year. But if its just bring in a vet, Glennon, or a shiny new rookie QB as you like to put it, that would not be considered a rebuilding year. Make no mistake about it, they are looking to win now.

  45. DallasBuc Says:

    Again, if you turn half the roster and move forward with one of the 3 suggested QB options it is rebuilding whether Lovie calls it that, you acknowledge it or the Joes report on it. Call a spade a spade.

  46. DallasBuc Says:

    Oh and Lovie was asked about it day 1, not after the notion of flipping half the roster was floated. The context is different now and deserves some addition inquiry with the new regime

  47. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ DallasBuc

    And you know what, as impossible as it may seem to you, there is a scenario were the bucs could turn over half the roster and it would not be interpreted as a rebuilding year. let me ask you, if the bucs turned over half the roster with MANLY BACK UPS and hardly any starters, would you consider that rebuilding? I’m willing to bet no, you wouldn’t. buts thats exactly what could happen. Since only 22 out of 53 players are starters, half the roster is comprised of back ups anyway.

  48. DallasBuc Says:

    Ok sure I suppose that only the back half of the roster could get turned but the talk from the new regime as has been reported certainly indicates that very few starters are safe. But go ahead and keep arguing for a way that it might not be rebuilding when what was suggested occurs as we head into training camp. Again it makes no difference to me if we are looking at the same thing but you or anyone else doesnt want to call it what it is!
    It’s gonna sound like some of that willful denial I touched on earlier

  49. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ DallasBuc

    Here is what I think will happen. in my honest opinion, I believe as you said most of that roster turnover will happen on the back half of the roster with only 4-5 of it being new starters. To me, i don’t consider that “rebuilding.” There’s no sense of denial in that, There is however a difference in our definition in the word “rebuilding” if you consider what I said to be rebuilding. No need to play Dr. Phil.

  50. DallasBuc Says:

    I would agree that 4-5 starters getting replaced is not rebuilding. That is probably a normal turnover for that average starting lineup. Now 5-6 per side of the ball plus another 10-15 non-starters along with the unfortunate QB situation we have then that is a different story. Once training camp actually starts we most likely will agree on whether we are in rebuilding mode or not. However all we have to go on is what we are being told and where we are at today. That’s why I always made my comments in the form of questions and given the info that has been put forth.

  51. Hesson0208 Says:

    I believe some guys who are ‘borderline good enough’ deserve the chance at 1 more year to prove themselves worthy… I will super pissed if we get rid of Penn, Joseph, Nicks (if healthy), Clayborn, Casillas, Watson… Sometimes, with players who are who have some negative attributes, you can say ‘oh, it was addition by subtraction’ but releasing/cutting/trading any of these guys would be premature, IMO.

  52. Andrew 1 Says:

    5-6 starters per side of the ball? hell yea I would consider that rebuilding, I’m right there with you on that one. I just cant see how Lovie would tell us we want to win now with a straight face if that happens. I would be very discouraged if that happened.

  53. Andrew 1 Says:

    There’s also the chance that we could change 5-6 starters per side over the next couple of seasons considering Lovie is safe for at least 2 seasons. So in a sense we could gradually rebuild instead of demolishing the team all at once. If we do decide to change that many starters, I think that would be the best way to go. It would lessen the blow. The truth is, none of us know for sure how far the new regime will take it. They may not even be looking to rebuild in the sense that you are referring to, or they could, who knows. It will be interesting to see.

  54. DallasBuc Says:

    I support Lovie and am fine if he does go through some rebuilding. I am sick and tired of watching my Bucs lose like the rest of you and am willing to see all forms of change occur if it means we put up some points and start winning some meaningful football games in Tampa. Obviously if we go through major personnel changes and get a good rookie QB in here then that is not going to happen right away. And I am fine with that as long as we feel there is a future behind center and a winner HC roaming the sidelines. I am sure the owners want the same thing

  55. Andrew 1 Says:


  56. BucfaninMO Says:

    Please don’t compare the Bucs and Chiefs. KC played the worst teams last year and when they did they lost..

  57. Patrick Says:

    Gruden put Manziel on the spot on QB camp today. Did anyone else watch?

  58. Cobraboy Says:

    I am 100% down with the house sweeping.


  59. David Says:

    Oil, they already did the fitst round of cuts…how pissed must Gabe Carimi be now? I bet he loathes Lovie.

  60. Piratic Says:

    Signed a 1 year deal with the Bears.

  61. BoJim Says:

    Bucsfanman Said:

    “I would take Steve Smith in a heart-beat.”

    Me too. He is one tough mofo. Seem to recall we got burned by him a few times.