CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 09: Kelvin Hayden #24 of the Chicago Bears smiles as he leaves the field after recovering a fumble against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2012 NFL season opener at Soldier Field on September 9, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Colts 41-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
With a salary cap crunch looming as they are trying to rebuild their shoddy defense, the Chicago Bears are being forced to shop in the bargain bin for help on that side of the ball this offseason, and they continued that "buy low" philosophy on Friday morning.
A new contract went to cornerback Kelvin Hayden, who missed the entire 2013 season for the Bears after suffering a torn hamstring during training camp in August. The contract is a 1-year deal worth a reported $840,000.
Hayden will be looked at to compete for the nickel cornerback slot for the Bears, a position currently occupied by Isaiah Frey. He didn’t have a bad 2013 season, with 62 tackles and two pass break-ups during the year, but he did show some weaknesses in the coverage game as the season wore on. He had trouble staying with his man over the middle of the field and he put a lot of extra pressure on safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright in third and long situations for the Bears.
Hayden was expected to be the starter in that position before injury derailed his season, and if he can regain the form that he was displaying early in training camp in Bourbonnais, then this very well could end up being a bit of a steal for the Bears.