It seems like Jairus Byrd and the Buffalo Bill won’t be coming to terms on a new deal, and the team isn’t going to use the franchise tag on him. This leaves an opening for the Atlanta Falcons to try and sign the safety, if they can improve their cap situation.
The Falcons have $18 million under the cap, but they should enter free agency with a bit more room for maneuvering. Thomas DeCoud seems to be in line for release, and there’s a good chance they rework some contracts by offering extensions and changing wide receiver Roddy White’s salary-cap number of $6.3 million and left guard Justin Blalock’s salary-cap number of $7.6 million.
Byrd has been a Pro Bowler in three of his five seasons in the league, making an All-Pro team in each of the last three seasons. He finished 2013 with 4 interceptions, 4 passes broken up and one sack. He did miss five games last year but has been healthy for most of his rookie deal. The Bills tried to get a deal done with him before last offseason but Byrd seems to want big money, which isn’t something the Bills are willing to give him.
The Falcons had a number of issues last year, but secondary was one of the biggest. They have a lot of money invested in strong safety William Moore, so will it be wise to enter a bidding war for another safety and have so much money tied up into their secondary, with other issues the team had last season in need of a fix?
It comes down to priorities and their ability to rework contracts. The Falcons aren’t a bad team in need of a rebuild – more like a borderline playoff team who fell into a rough season with an unfortunate set of circumstances. Byrd might be expensive, but he also might be the signing that helps put the Falcons back in the form they were in for most of the Ryan-Smith years.