NFL Free Agency: What can Jairus Byrd bring to the Rams defense?


Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The free safety for the Buffalo Bills is set to hit the free agency market this year, and the Rams front office might already be eyeing what he could bring to our defense.

Three time All-Pro, Jairus Byrd, is the premier safety in this year free agency class. While being the single best coverage safety in the NFL, he also boasted four picks this season, despite missing five games. Though he may be only slightly above average in playing the run and the blitz, he seems to be a good fit next to run specialist TJ McDonald. Lately Rams have been stuck in the pattern of playing only run-first safeties that often struggle in coverage, (Craig Dahl anybody?) signing Byrd would be an instant fix as he would be our first true free safety in years.

Now with the weakness of our defense being the secondary, Jairus Byrd could make our defense special next year. Just close your eyes and imagine our destructive pass rush combined with a secondary that features Jairus Byrd along with all of the other young up and coming talent that we have.

Not only would he have an immediate impact upon our defense, but he could also act as a mentor to help develop our younger guys such as TJ McDonald, Rodney McLeod, (and dare I say, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix?)

If the Rams were to make a move, it should be a shorter term contract of about two to three years because our cap situation is tight. I believe something that averages to about seven million dollars a year is what he will likely require to come here, but with the correct cap moves, it could be done. While the move would likely just be a temporary stopgap measure to prop up our young and developing defense, his play will most certainly raise our defense to elite heights.

While this move may make some sense for the Rams, the likelihood of it happening is a whole different story. First of all, the Buffalo Bills would love to retain him. Apparently Doug Whaley, the team’s GM, plans to make a slightly larger push than last year to re-sign Byrd.

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“We’re gonna try to the best of abilities because we’re in the business of collecting good players and he’s a good player.” Whaley said, according to WGR550.com.

Last season, Byrd reportedly wanted to become the highest paid safety in the game, and his play this season would certainly back that up. The Bills ended up slapping him with the franchise tag last year, but this years tag would cost around 8.3 million dollars. At this point, Byrd only has about a 50/50 chance of deciding to leave Buffalo anyways, further making it harder to picture him in horns anytime soon.

Jairus Byrd might be the perfect fit for our team, but that’s only in a perfect world. Should Buffalo let him walk, look to see Fisher and Co. at least bring him in for a workout. The free agency puzzle is slowly coming together, but is far from clear yet. The hole at safety could just as easily be filled with a cheaper option or draft pick, but who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of speculation?