NFL: New Orleans Saints land top free agent safety Jairus Byrd from Buffalo Bills
Last Updated: 12/03/14 9:33am
Jairus Byrd: has joined the New Orleans Saints on a six-year deal
The New Orleans Saints have surprisingly signed highly-regarded free agent Jairus Byrd after the safety left the Buffalo Bills.
Byrd was one of the top free agents on the market and it comes as a slight shock that he has joined the Saints, who were thought to be struggling for cap space.
New Orleans had to release several veterans to get under the salary cap for the start of the season and it was expected that any remaining funds would be used to sign tight end Jimmy Graham to a new long-term deal.
But the Saints have been able to land Byrd on a six-year deal which, according to reports in the US media, is worth a total of $54 million, with $28m of that being guaranteed.
“We had hoped for the opportunity to pursue Jairus Byrd,” Saints executive vice president/general manager Mickey Loomis said.
“After meeting with him, we are excited that he will become a member of the New Orleans Saints. We think that his play-making abilities will be an excellent fit with what we are trying to accomplish with our defence and in our secondary.”
One of the other prize free agent safeties, Donte Whitner, is set to sign with the Cleveland Browns after leaving the San Francisco 49ers.
Cleveland have not officially confirmed the deal but it has been widely reported in the US media and Whitner himself has announced the news.
He tweeted: “I must now embark on my intended journey and become a Cleveland Brown. A place that's very dear to my heart!
“I look forward to winning and Building something in Cleveland that WILL NOT be forgotten! I also look forward to helping build back my community and watching it flourish."
The Browns are also expected to sign veteran middle linebacker Karlos Dansby after he left the Arizona Cardinals.