The signing matches up with the team's desire to add competition at the nickel corner spot, which was occupied all last season by Isaiah Frey after Hayden suffered a torn left hamstring on Aug. 3 during practice. While the club isn't down on Frey's performance, it would like to have generated more turnovers at the nickel spot considering the former sixth-round pick was on the field for all the passing downs yet didn't have an interception.
Besides that, Hayden possesses the toughness and attitude the Bears hope to instill in the defense as they rebuild with younger players.
Frey played in all 16 games last season with six starts and produced 62 tackles with two pass breakups.
Hayden, meanwhile, entered training camp in 2013 as the No. 1 nickel corner on the roster after bouncing between corner and nickel in 2012, a season in which he played all 16 games with two starts, picking off one pass and breaking up three others in addition to recovering four fumbles.
When Hayden suffered his hamstring injury last season, the prognosis was six to eight months of rehabilitation, but the eight-year veteran recovered faster than anticipated.
The Bears are also believed to be interested in bringing back veteran reserve cornerback Zack Bowman, but he's expected to test the free-agent market. That doesn't mean Bowman won't be back with Chicago -- he played well in seven starts last season, intercepting seven passes and breaking up 10 more. Bowman picked off two passes in a December win over Cleveland, returning one for a touchdown.
The signing of Hayden doesn't rule out the Bears bringing back veteran Charles Tillman, either, as the club continues to try to re-sign him. Salary-cap constraints have made that endeavor difficult.