Free Agent Update: Options Open For Byrd, Ward

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

As recently as a couple days ago, it appeared the top two potential free-agent safeties would never get a chance to test the market.

But things have changed.

The Bills and Browns opted not to tag safeties Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward, respectively. Both players can continue to work on negotiating long-term deals with their teams. But neither will be hand-cuffed. In other words, if they want to test the market, they will be allowed to do so. Read more »

Report: Byrd Unlikely To Be Tagged

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills

With the start of free agency just nine days away, the chances of Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd hitting the market appear to have increased.

According to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 in Buffalo, the Bills are unlikely to sign Byrd to a long-term extension, and the franchise tag is not in their plans either. Byrd played last year under the franchise tag, and per the report, the team might not want to use another one-year rental before losing the Pro Bowl safety next offseason. Read more »

Jairus Byrd Staying Put?

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills
INDIANAPOLIS — Hopes for a Jairus Byrd-Eagles union are fading fast.

It is questionable whether the Eagles would pony up the necessary coin to land the top safety on the market. It could be that Byrd never makes it onto the market in the first place. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: Safety Needs

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills
For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @pmeredith77: Why are people saying the Eagles won’t pursue Jairus Byrd or TJ Ward when mid-level safeties haven’t gotten it done in the past?

Many view the message coming out of the NovaCare as a smokescreen, but I really believe the Eagles have changed their thinking when it comes to free agency. They’re wary of sinking a large chunk of their available cash into a single player. On multiple occasions, Howie Roseman has likened free agency to an arranged marriage: you don’t know whether team and player are truly compatible until after pen has gone to paper.

The fact that Chip Kelly‘s time at Oregon overlapped with both Byrd and Ward’s takes some of the guesswork out of it. He has spent time around the players, and has a basic understanding of how they would fit into the Eagles’ defense and culture. That alleviates some of the concern. Read more »

All-22: The Jairus Byrd Question

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On the surface, Jairus Byrd appears to be a near-perfect fit.

That’s why he’s the free agent Birds 24/7 readers have asked about the most in recent weeks. Byrd played his college ball at Oregon, and for two seasons while he was there, Chip Kelly was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator. At 27, he is a three-time Pro Bowler and appears set to hit the open market.

At this point, we don’t even need to discuss the need for the Eagles to upgrade at safety. It’s been a position of weakness for five straight years, and the personnel whiffs have led to struggles on the back end of the Birds’ defense.

While Howie Roseman has dropped hint after hint this offseason that the Eagles won’t be pursuing big-name free agents, I decided to take a closer look at Byrd anyway. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: What About Jairus Byrd?

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For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @dyurkanin: Why (or why not) should the Eagles pursue a trade for a key position of need? i.e. Josh Gordon or Jairus Byrd

Let’s focus on Byrd for a second. He is a fit for the Eagles on a couple levels. One, as you mentioned, he plays a “key position of need.” The secondary would be instantly improved. He also played his college ball at Oregon. Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator during Byrd’s final two seasons in Eugene, so there is a familiarity there. Kelly would have a pretty sound understanding of how he would fit into this defensive scheme. Read more »

Twitter Mailbag: Could the Eagles Land S Jairus Byrd?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From@NateCalvanese: What are the chances that Tom Gamble sticks around for a little while? I know he interviewed for a bunch of GM jobs this year.

Hard to say for sure, but there is reason to believe he could be with the Eagles for a while. For one, he’s from this area. Howie Roseman mentioned Wednesday that Gamble did not come aboard last year in part because he wanted to make sure the timing was right when it came to his family (he has a wife and three boys). Not sure he’s going to want to uproot again right away.

Asked why Gamble made what on the surface looks like a lateral move, Roseman pointed to his love for Philly.

“I think it speaks to his passion for this city and this fan base,” said Roseman. “He is about Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Eagles. Obviously that’s important to him. He wants to be part of building something, and building it with the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Also, Roseman mentioned the desire to bring in pieces that are in it for the long haul. I’m not sure they pull the trigger if Gamble wasn’t committed.

“In the last three years we haven’t had a lot of continuity and we want that,” he said, “we want guys who are going to be here for a while and get our system in place and get everyone on the same page.”

From@hotcakes_33: Roster overhaul coming. Is draft deep enough @positions of need that trading back for more 2′s/3′s worth it or need playmakers?

The way I see it, you don’t get to pick this low in the draft very often, so why trade out? Even if this class isn’t as loaded as last year’s, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a difference-maker. Think about it this way: with all the talent from all the schools across the country, only three players will have come off the board before the Eagles pick. There is a stud to be had . Maybe it’s not your franchise quarterback, but if it’s a tackle that anchors the line for the next decade or a corner that can lock down one side of the field for the foreseeable future, then it’s all good.

The Eagles are building this team back up and therefor won’t be as tempted to reach for immediate need. They can truly take the best player available at No. 4.

@LorenJCook: Chances we get Safety Jairus Byrd from Buffalo, ties with CK through Oregon?

Don’t think the chances are great. The franchise figure for safeties is expected to be south of $7 million — not a terrible price to pay for a 26-year-old with two Pro Bowl nods in four NFL seasons.  Byrd would apparently like to test the market, but it is hard to imagine the Bills allowing him to walk.

Here is what former Eagles scout-turned-NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah had to say about Byrd.

“I think he might be the best free safety in all of football,” Jeremiah said. “He gives you interceptions, gives you forced fumbles, plays the run, plays the pass. I don’t envision Buffalo allowing him to get out of town.”

We put out a list of available safeties on Wednesday. There are some pretty big names on their, including Byrd and Ed Reed. Because of the relatively low franchise tag number, expect this pool to shrink by the time free agency hits.

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