Perhaps the most valuable names set to hit 2014 NFL free agency is safety Jairus Byrd. Which teams have the best chance to win the expected bidding war?
There is no question the front runner for landing Byrd would be the Cleveland Browns. Rumors have connected the two sides ever since it was reported that head coach Mike Pettine considered letting Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward go in favor of pursuing the young, more athletic Byrd. The Browns have the cap space necessary to make that signing provided the Buffalo Bills can’t pull out a last-second long-term deal. Byrd knows Pettine’s defense and will enjoy the lucrative pay day to come.
However, every action Byrd has made this point suggests he is dead set on becoming the highest paid safety in the league. Buffalo tried to meet part of his want and it was rejected. So any team that wants him will have to come hard with the cash. The Oakland Raiders defense needs help everywhere and landing a three-time Pro Bowler in his prime would certainly solve a lot of their issues. The key for them is that they have more cash to spend than any other team in the league by a considerable margin at $66 million. They can afford to pay Byrd what he wants and still have enough space left over to make other moves.
Jairus Byrd is nothing if not persistent. His actions are that of a man who wishes to hit 2014 NFL free agency with idea that somebody will not just pay, but overpay for his services. If history is any indication, the Washington Redskins might be his best hope. Daniel Snyder has never let something like money stand in his way of getting big name free agents and the Redskins badly need stability at the safety position. Signing Byrd would energize the fan base and slightly erase the fact they have to watch the St. Louis Rams use their #2 overall pick in the draft.
The front office insisted that the era of huge “Dream Team” moves are over but that should not eliminate the Philadelphia Eagles from thought in 2014 NFL free agency. They were rather aggressive last year and could be again what with their needs still to meet in the secondary. Jairus Byrd presents a potential coup for this team who were really missing that playmaking element when they went to the playoffs last season. Getting more turnovers has to be the end game for head coach Chip Kelly. Byrd would help in that mission.