NFL Free Agency 2014: Did the Saints Overpay Jairus Byrd?

Norm Hall

Below are answers to the rest of the reader questions submitted Saturday. Special thanks to all those that participated. Feel free to continue the discussion on any of these topics in the comment section below.

Considering the market value for a safety AND Byrd wanted to sign with the Saints anyway bcuz or our "winning tradition" do u think Loomis could've paid maybe $1 or $3 million less and we still would've gotten him? - Fish B.

First of all, while Byrd's "winning tradition" comment was flattering, he said that after he signed his contract. That sounds like simple rhetoric to me. Give me $54 million and I will say whatever the hell you want. I wouldn't put too much stock in that. I am sure if the Jaguars offered him more money, he'd be looking for houses in Jacksonville right now.

But to answer your question, Byrd was asking for $8 million to $10 million a year from the very start. As the top free agent safety on the market at the time, I think another team would have given him what he wanted if the Saints didn't give it to him first. And to be quite honest, I don't think a few million dollars over the course of 6 years really makes much of a difference in the grand scheme of things when we're talking about $54 million in total. Being thrifty just wouldn't be worth the risk if he was the guy the Saints really wanted.

***

Are you buying into the "changed offense/more power running" narrative for the Saints in 2014 that has popped up with the Sproles trade? - Hans D.

No, not completely. I'm certainly not against the idea but I just don't know whether the loss of one player (with the exception of a quarterback) means an entire philosophical change. That seems a bit extreme. What did Darren Sproles do that Pierre Thomas can't? Nothing, and Pierre is still on the team. After watching the entire 2012 season from his couch, Sean Payton said last off-season there would be more of a focus on the run game in 2013. That never really materialized... until the playoffs. He also said the run game needed to improve in 2010. It seems like he says that every year, actually. So excuse me if I'm a bit skeptical. Payton may have good intentions, but I think his lack of patience gets in his own way.

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Salary cap hell next year? - D. Boi

It's not looking too hot. Right now the Saints' current 2015 salary cap spending is at $118,820,579 for 36 players, which gives them 6th highest total salary in the league for next year. Add in salaries for another 15 players and it's even higher, probably at about $125,000,000 or more. And that doesn't include any dead money. As long as the Saints continue to sign big names to big contracts by pushing money into the future with long-term contracts and prorated bonuses they will continue to be in this same situation every year. The good news for the Saints is that it looks like the cap will be increasing significantly next year, just as it did this year.

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Which player release most surprised you? - Ben D.

Honestly? None of them. Will Smith, Roman Harper, Jabari Greer, and Lance Moore all had bloated contracts that didn't equal their value on the football field. The writing was on the wall from the very start of the off-season. Unfortunately, football is a business. Every fan needs to realize that.

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How frequent (or rare) is it that players on a team know who the organization is planning to take in the draft or who the front office and coaching staff likes heading into the draft? - Paul B.

I honestly don't have any idea. My guess, however, would be that the front office doesn't discuss draft plans with any player. I suppose the coaching staff might ask a current player his opinion about a potential draft pick if they played for the same college team at the same time. I doubt it goes much beyond that.

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