According to a report from Detroit Free Press writer Dave Birkett, the Detroit Lions are signing free agent cornerback Tae Hayes.
Hayes was most recently with the New England Patriots in 2022—joining the team in late December and making two brief appearances in Week 17 and Week 18 for the team. He re-signed with the team in May, but was waived in June.
Since joining the NFL in 2019 as an undrafted prospect out of Appalachian State, Hayes has signed with the Jaguars, Dolphins, Vikings, Cardinals and Panthers (twice). He also played a season with the Birmingham Stallions after being drafted in the second round of 2022 USFL draft. There, Hayes recorded 37 tackles and an interception. He also had a impressive pick-six of Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe last preseason.
Despite only being 5-foot-9, Hayes has mostly played outside corner, but he has experience at the nickel, too. The Lions will certainly value that versatility, as just about everyone in their secondary can play several spots on the defense.
The Lions have not made this signing official, and there is no word on a corresponding move. However, it’s worth pointing out that cornerback Jarren Williams suffered an injury during Thursday’s “scrimmage” practice and had to be carted off. If the injury is serious, don’t be surprised if Detroit waives him with an injury designation on Friday, and he reverts back to the injured reserve list after clearing waivers.
UPDATE: Williams was officially waived/injured on Friday, per the transaction wire. The signing of Hayes remains unofficial as of Friday night.