The New Orleans Saints made a big splash in free agency in 2014, signing Safety Jairus Byrd to a six year $54 million dollar deal. Three years later, the Saints are set to cut the high-priced Safety and move on from the Byrd era. But is that the best choice for the Saints?
To say Byrd has underwhelmed in New Orleans would be an understatement. The 2016 season was far and away Byrd's best year in New Orleans, but also his first fully healthy season, playing in all 16 games after playing in only 17 games the previous two seasons combined. In his first full season under new Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen, Byrd logged three-year highs of passes defended, interceptions, and a four-year high in tackles. It should be noted, though, that his three-year high in passes defended and interceptions were 3 and 2, after previous career-highs up to 11 and 9 at one point.
Both of Byrd's interceptions game in the season's second-to-last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with many Saints fans hoping this was a sign of things to come for the veteran ball hawk. Whether or not this would come to fruition in New Orleans will never be known, as the Saints are set to presumably save about $8 million by cutting his contract (eating a little over $3 million in dead money).
There aren't many free safeties on the market in free agency, with some (like former Saint Rafael Bush) not a starter in their career, and others (like Raider Nate Allen) with their own history of inconsistencies. A name to keep in mind moving forward is Tampa Bay Buccaneers Safety Bradley McDougald, but there's no guarantee the Saints could/would sign him.
So, what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Should the Saints have released Jairus Byrd, or tried one more season to see if he could finally live up to his contract? Was his two interception game a fluke, or was it a sign of things to come? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. Send me presents.