It was reported before free agency that the Jacksonville Jaguars wanted to bring back veteran defensive end Reggie Hayward, but the sticking point was playing time and the cost. On the second day of free agency Jacksonville hosted defensive end Aaron Kampman and eventually signed him. This further stressed the potential re-signing of the veteran Jaguar, who was concerned more with potential playing time than actual money involved. Reggie Hayward has been an enigma since he was signed in Jacksonville in 2005 and tore his achilles in 2006, but he can still be an asset to this rebuilding football team.
It was reported initially that the Jaguars were offering Reggie Hayward just above veteran minimum, which was to be expected considering Hayward was once again coming off a season ending injury. According to Florida Times Union reporter Michael Wright yesterday on twitter, the Jaguars rescinded that offer to Reggie Hayward, but are still in negotiations and a deal could come sometime soon.
The question is should the Jaguars be looking to bring back Reggie Hayward?
The answer is absolutely.
Even though the Jaguars have signed Aaron Kampman, who is likely a starter opposite improving young left end Derrick Harvey, after that the Jaguars are thin at the defensive end spot. Behind Harvey and Kampmann the Jaguars have a bunch of guys who are undersized and under-productive. Back up tweener Quentin Groves has become a fan favorite on twitter with his fan interaction, but on the field he's left quite a bit to be desired. After Groves there is a mish mash of players like Julius Williams, Brian Smith, Jeremy Mincey, and Jeremy Navarre. None of these back up players have really shown enough to warrant getting significant play time over a player like Reggie Hayward, even though he is coming off another injury.
Even though Reggie Hayward is coming off a broken fibula he suffered in the first game against the Indianapolis Colts, one would have to think he would immediately be the first defensive end off the bench in a game. Even last year and the previous season when Hayward was recovering from a torn achilles he suffered in 2006, he was one of the better defensive ends on the field. Despite the disdain a lot of the fan base shows for young defensive end Derrick Harvey, he passed Reggie Hayward the latter half of the 2008 season. While Hayward would not steal playing time from Harvey or the recovering Kampman, he would still be a valuable asset off the bench. One of Hayward's biggest concerns when considering coming back to Jacksonville was just that, playing time. Even though he would not be starting, he should expect to see plenty of time given he has recovered from his broken leg.
I expect the Jaguars to reach a deal with Reggie Hayward sometime soon, and that also won't stop them from looking to bolster the defensive end position in the draft.