28-Year-Old Safety – New Orleans Saints
2014 Fantasy Football Outlook
The Bills were unable to convince Byrd to return to Buffalo after playing on the franchise tag in 2013, so he headed for New Orleans in the offseason. He'll start alongside Kenny Vaccaro this year, gi...
Jairus Byrd Contract Information:
Signed a six-year, $54 million contract ($28 million guaranteed) with the Saints in March 2014.
The Saints have placed Byrd (knee) on IR.
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Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Jairus Byrd: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Byrd has been practicing on a limited basis since being activated from New Orleans' PUP list three weeks ago, but Tuesday marked the safety's first full-contact action since undergoing back surgery in May. With minimal restrictions left, the Saints are expected to start Byrd in Saturday's exhibition outing, although his playing time will probably be closely monitored. Nonetheless, it'll be good for Byrd to gain game experience in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme before the regular season kicks off, as Byrd and rising second-year player Kenny Vacarro figure to comprise one of the league's premier safety tandems.
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Byrd suffered the injury during the Pro Bowl, but the concern didn't hinder his prospects on the open market after the Bills opted not to franchise the cornerback. During the first weeks of free agency, he inked a six-year deal with the Saints that includes $28 million guaranteed. It's quite the investment in the five-year pro, who's picked off 22 passes in 73 career games.
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Byrd was one of the most sought after free agents on the market, and his move to New Orleans comes as a slight surprise, considering the Saints' cap situation. They'll be gaining one of the league's top safeties however, as Byrd will bolster a pass defense that ranked only behind the defending Super Bowl champs in passing yards allowed in 2013. At 27 years old, Byrd has racked up 22 career interceptions over five NFL seasons with Buffalo, and he should form a dynamic tandem with last year's first round selection Kenny Vaccaro.
Exclusive Fantasy Analysis (FREE PREVIEW)Unless a deal is struck between Byrd and the Bills between now and Mar. 11, the safety is slated to hit free agency. In such a scenario, he'll be one of the most sought-after defenders on the open market, after recording 48 tackles and four picks in 11 games for the Bills this past season.
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Byrd doesn't post outrageous tackle numbers, but he might be the most well-rounded DB when it comes to producing in both the tackle and turnover categories, thanks to his career average of 4.5 interceptions and 2.5 forced fumbles per season. Byrd has always been a ball hawk – he even intercepted 17 passes as a cornerback in his three years at Oregon. None of this is to say Byrd is a turnover specialist with low tackle totals – Byrd had 98 tackles in 2011, and his career average of 77 per season makes him entirely sufficient in the category. Byrd missed mandatory minicamp due to a contract dispute, which could also threaten his training camp.
He’s no George Wilson, but Byrd is one of the best IDP targets among defensive backs entering 2012. A former college cornerback who initially made his mark in the NFL with low-tackle, high-interception totals, Byrd has rounded out his game in the last two years and become a steady source of tackle production, remaining a threat in coverage all the while. Byrd finished 2011 with 98 tackles (75 solo), one sack, three interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles. Byrd strikes a good balance between his early-career interception totals and his recently improved tackle numbers, making him one of the more reliable defensive back targets on the board. His upside is pretty high given that the Bills' defensive line is so good and could be forcing a lot of errant passes.
While Byrd is generally a promising player, his production thus far in his career has been unusual. During his rookie year, he was a magnet when the football was in the air (nine interceptions in 14 games) but was allergic to the ball when someone was running with it (45 tackles). In 2010, Byrd's game inverted as he totaled 89 tackles (62 solo) with just one interception. If he could strike some balance he'd have the look of an elite safety, but until then he carries a bit of risk.
Byrd made the Pro Bowl in an impressive rookie season that ended with nine interceptions, tied for the league high. However, his season also ended early with a torn labrum. He's recovered well and should be close to 100 percent by the time the regular season rolls around. He's expected to start at free safety, where he should be able to continue his ball-hawking ways, which go back far beyond his fine rookie season, though his tackles will probably stay in check because stopping the run really isn't his main weapon right now, plus the Bills have a lot of depth at safety and will rotate frequently.
Byrd was one of the team's two second-round selections in 2009 and was considered one of the top underclassmen corners in the draft. However, he'll switch to safety with the Bills. Right now, Donte Whitner and Bryan Scott are the two starters at safety, though eventually the team expects Byrd to earn a starting role. Keep an eye on him if he does, because he has good ball-hawking skills. Byrd intercepted 17 passes, broke up 53 more, forced four fumbles and recovered two fumbles in three seasons with Oregon.