The Buffalo Bills did not give the franchise tag to safety Jairus Byrd making the three-time pro bowler a free agent. One of the teams who have a glaring need for help at safety are the Chicago Bears who could be looking for replacements for both Chris Conte and Major Wright after dreadful seasons that saw the duo rank among the worst at their positions.
Veteran Chicago Bears columnist and current Bleacher Report and Sports on Earth contributor Dan Pompei writes on his Sulia page that Byrd could provide the biggest boost to the Bears defense over any other free agent or potential draft pick.
“He makes a lot of sense for the Bears–or for any team looking to upgrade defensively. He is a young, dynamic playmaker at a position of need. What’s more, there are not many other young, dynamic players of his caliber likely to be available in free agency. The Bears might need defensive linemen more than a safety, and the defensive line is more important in the Bears’ system, but given all the factors involved here–other free agents available, the draft, the salary cap etc.–Byrd might be the player who can help this defense the most. If I were Phil Emery, I’d definitely do what I could to get in the running for Byrd, assuming it would not too severely limit the team’s other player options because of cap/cash concerns.”
The Bears could use their first round pick (No. 14 overall) on a defensive tackle like Timmy Jernigan or Aaron Donald and sign Byrd which would address the two biggest weaknesses on the defense as opposed to passing on Byrd on free agency and addressing the safety position in the draft where there is a lack of impact prospects compared to the defensive line.