Eagles Wake-Up Call: Byrd Previously On Radar?

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

This isn’t the first time the Eagles’ front office has at least considered the idea of safety Jairus Byrd playing in Philadelphia.

Byrd is set to become a free agent today at 4 p.m., but according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, the Eagles looked into trading for Byrd last year.

“They do like Byrd to a certain extent,” Caplan said during an interview Monday with Joe DeCamara on 97.5 The Fanatic. “They were engaged in trade talks last year for Jairus Byrd, and it just didn’t come down to fruition. It was hard to do because he was on the franchise tag last year, and remember once the franchise tag deadline of July 15 is over, you can’t sign a franchise player to an extension. So that just made it very difficult to do. This time around, I think the money is way too high, a reported $9 million. I think the number would have to be significantly lower to get involved.”

The nugget is important for this reason: It reveals that the Eagles at least like and appreciate Byrd’s skill set. They still are probably longshots, but if Byrd doesn’t have a deal during the first 24 hours of free agency, maybe Howie Roseman makes a call.

It’ll be fascinating to see how much a team is willing to pay for Byrd’s services. Every year, we see players/agents and front offices disagree on value. He may want $9 million per year, but will anyone give him that? Albert Breer of NFL Network went as far as to say Byrd’s demands are scaring teams off. As always, we’ll wait and see what happens.

Previously, we listed six safeties the Eagles could target, including some mid-tier options and sleepers. Caplan is another person who thinks Carolina’s Mike Mitchell could fit the bill, and he added another name to the mix.

“The names I find to be interesting [are] Mike Mitchell, who played as a free safety more than a box safety, can do either,” Caplan said. “I mentioned James Ihedigbo. I doubt Chris Clemons is on their radar. I don’t think he fits with what they’re looking for. But those two names – Ihedigbo ant Mitchell – make the most sense to me.”

Ihedigbo (6-1, 214) almost never came off the field for the Ravens last year, playing 99.6 percent of the team’s snaps, per Pro Football Focus. His playmaking numbers were good. Ihedigbo broke up 11 passes, had three interceptions and forced two fumbles. He also held up well against the run and has good size.

Ihedigbo turned 30 in December, but didn’t start a game during his first three seasons in the league. On a short-term deal, he’s another safety name to keep in mind.

WHAT YOU MISSED

From Mitchell’s tackling to LaMarr Houston’s versatility, here are three Eagles (free agency-related) numbers that matter.

A roundup of all the free agency moves and rumors from Monday.

T-Mac offers an updated look at the safety market.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com thinks Ravens cornerback Corey Graham could make sense for the Eagles:

One player who can play a number of roles and be a valuable jack of all trades is Corey Graham of the Ravens. Graham has the versatility to play both on the outside and in the slot, and he made the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season with the Bears as a standout special teamer.

Graham would be a tremendous addition, however, he may see himself as a starter in the NFL, thus making Philly a tough sell.

The latest mock draft at SB Nation has the Eagles taking Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby at No. 22:

Philadelphia’s outside cornerbacks last season were picked apart. Roby didn’t have the season many expected, but some of his bad moments were a symptom of tendencies that are coachable. Don’t forget, many considered Roby a top-15 talent coming into the season. The talent is still there.

COMING UP

The signing period officially begins at 4 p.m. We’ll have coverage all day long.

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