The Atlanta Falcons will be looking hard at offensive linemen and defensive linemen in both the upcoming NFL Draft and free agency period (which begins on March 11), but that’s not to say they don’t have eyes on other positions as well. Three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd is likely done with the Buffalo Bills, and he could fit in nicely in Atlanta.
Last year the Falcons took two cornerbacks–Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford–with their first two draft picks to replace the flock of defensive backs who left the team via free agency or release. This year there is a good chance that veteran safety Thomas DeCoud could meet a similar fate, and Byrd could be just the man to replace him.
Atlanta has a good deal of money tied up in safety William Moore ($3.5 million in 2014), so they may not want to get into an all-out bidding war for Byrd, but if they can pick him up with some of the $18 million of cap space they have available, there’s absolutely no reason not to do it.
Having a front end of the secondary consisting of Byrd and Moore would be tremendous for the Falcons, and would help to alleviate some of the pressure on their two talented (but young) corners, who showed flashes of greatness mixed with struggles in 2013.
But make no mistake, Byrd is going to want to get paid handsomely. He rejected an offer from the Bills that would have made him the highest paid safety in the league for a portion of the contract, and he’s made it clear that he wants to be paid like some of the top ball-hawks in the league.
Another Byrd in Atlanta? Hey, it could happen.