The anticipation for the NFL’s official starting gun for its free agency period has reached a fever pitch. Reported deals have already started to come down the pipeline as even some of the marquee players on the open market have started to agree to deals with their new teams. The Eagles have been mentioned in the same breath as some of the top players on the market. That said, the player that Philadelphia fans have been pining over for more than a year now, safety Jairus Byrd, apparently has narrowed his sights. Needless to say, the result of this courtship will either create a lot of very happy Eagles fans or will add a new player to the ‘most hated opponents’ list for years to come.
Its down to 2 teams for FS Jairus Byrd 2 teams. The Redskins and The Eagles. #NFLFreeAgency
— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) March 11, 2014
The Eagles and the Redskins, from a salary cap standpoint, are neck and neck as far as being able to fit a potential salary like Byrd’s would be. The past two NFC East champions are among the NFL teams with young, controllable talent at the quarterback position and thus, plenty of money to spend. Both teams had serious issues in the secondary last season. The Eagles were able to get by, for the most part in 2013 with an opportunistic defense that created turnovers and held opponents to field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone. The Redskins, despite their 2013 struggles, were just a season removed of putting forth a similar effort to the 2013 Eagles. Aided by a prolific offense, Washington was able to play with a lead down the stretch and force teams into situations where they had to press on offense.
Much like the Eagles, Washington has seen the safety position go from an area of strength to a serious weakness in a matter of five seasons. The untimely passing of Sean Taylor paired with the erratic, injury-riddled career of LaRon Landry derailed the Redskins plans and they have been scrambling to fill the void ever since. While Washington has several holes they need to fill on both sides of the ball, one would have to think the new coaching regime would like nothing more than to make a splash on the open market and insert themselves into the conversation among the NFC East contenders.
NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, who has been well dialed in on almost all free agent proceedings Tuesday morning and afternoon, questions as to whether the Redskins would devote so much money to one position given their deficiencies across the depth chart.
Would be really surprised if #Redskins were in on Jairus Byrd, from what I’m hearing. We’ll see his market. Return to Bills still possible
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2014
Nevertheless, Washington owner Dan Snyder has a track record of being aggressive in free agency, so one cannot discount their potential involvement with Byrd. From the way it seems, the market for Byrd is dropping rather quickly and it would come as no surprise if the prize of the 2014 safety class doesn’t ink a deal sooner rather than later.