The NFL news cycle has been consumed by the tragic passing of Dwayne Haskins over the weekend. In Florida training with some Steelers teammates, Haskins was killed by an oncoming vehicle while trying to cross a highway.
No part of us wants to focus on anything other than Haskins, but the NFL offseason is still in full-swing and the Washington Commanders have been somewhat busy addressing their roster over the last few days.
On top of scheduling top-30 visits with potential draft targets, the Commanders have recently released and extended a pair of players.
This past Friday, the club released veteran cornerback DJ Hayden, who was signed to a reserve/futures contract in January, seemingly paving the way for him to spend the offseason with the team to try and earn a roster spot.
The Commanders didn’t see it that way, however.
The Commanders released veteran cornerback DJ Hayden.
A former first-round pick of the Raiders back in 2013, Hayden has bounced around the league over his nine seasons. Hayden lasted four years in Oakland as a rotational player before he landed in Detroit for one season in 2017.
The Houston product spent the next four years in Jacksonville before he signed to Washington’s practice squad late last season amid the team’s COVID-19 outbreak. He appeared in one game — the Week 16 loss to Dallas — and played 11 snaps.
Hayden’s release leaves the Commanders with Kendall Fuller, William Jackson III, Danny Johnson and Benjamin St-Juste at CB. It’s not a deep rotation by any stretch, so expect Washington to add a reinforcement or two in this month’s draft.
Corn Elder and Troy Apke can play the position, but they’re more break-glass-in-case-of-emergency options than anything else. But enough cornerback talk. Let’s transition to the more noteworthy news.
On Monday, Washington announced they signed kicker Joey Slye to a two-year extension! Per NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport (not ESPN’s Adam Schefter!), Slye’s deal is worth upwards of $5 million with $2 million guaranteed.
A restricted free agent, Slye had a one-year tender offer on the table from the franchise. Much to the delight of Commanders fans, however, he’ll instead sign a two-year deal that keeps him in Ashburn through the 2023 season.
It’s nothing less than Slye deserves, as the Virginia Tech product made all 12 of his field goal attempts for Washington. He also nailed extra points at a 90% clip (9-of-10) and his lone miss was blocked. Fans will remember that Slye tweaked his hamstring trying to chase down the ball-carrier after the block.
Despite not having a stable home in 2021 — he spent time with Houston and San Francisco before joining Washington — Slye was one of the NFL’s most accurate kickers last campaign.
For kickers who attempted at least 25 field goals, Slye’s 92 percent clip ranked six behind the Ravens’ Justin Tucker, the Ram’s Matt Gay, the Falcons’ Younghoe Koo, the Raiders’ Daniel Carlson and the Patriots’ Nick Folk, respectively.
That’s impressive company for Slye, who brought needed stability to the kicker position for Washington in 2021 and will now look to do so through 2023.