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Where will Jairus Byrd land?


Where will Jairus Byrd find his next perch?

The Buffalo Bills today declined to use their franchise tag on Byrd for a second straight year, sending the three-time Pro Bowler off toward unrestricted free agency.

This shouldn't be considered a comprehensive list or used for betting purposes. But let's take a look at some potential landing spots for Byrd:

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta will be an attractive destination for various free agents. The Falcons went to the NFC Championship Game the season before last, have their franchise quarterback, own the sixth overall draft choice and are expected to dump free safety Thomas DeCoud.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens had a muddled safety situation last year. They drafted Matt Elam in the first round, but he didn't seem too comfortable at free safety and might be better suited at strong safety. Adding someone like Byrd would make that decision easy and strengthen the Ravens' entire defense.

Chicago Bears

When the Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith a couple years ago, much of Smith's staff received pink slips, too. That included Byrd's father, Gill Byrd. But the Bears are a big-market team with a playoff-caliber offense and some defensive holes, especially at safety. Free safety Chris Conte was wobbly last year, and strong safety Major Wright is a free agent.

Cleveland Browns

Byrd and new Browns coach Mike Pettine would know what they're signing up for. Byrd went to his third Pro Bowl in Pettine's system. For all the Browns' faults, they do have solid defensive personnel, and they're probably going to lose Pro Bowl strong safety T.J. Ward to free agency.

Oakland Raiders

Remember that final scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," where the worker wheels the crate into a warehouse that stretches into oblivion? That's how much salary-cap space the Raiders have.

Philadelphia Eagles (late addition)

A Google search of "Jairus Byrd" and "Philadelphia Eagles" turns up a dearth of legitimate reports that connect the two, and the one credible news outlet that addressed the possibility -- Comcast SportNet Philly -- has two writers who predict it won't happen. But some guy on Twitter who doesn't follow me, @Richpedd1, insists the Eagles were an omission on my rundown. So here they are.

St. Louis Rams

Byrd graduated from suburban Clayton High while his father was an assistant coach with the Rams. It was there that future Hall of Fame safety Aeneas Williams took Jairus under his wing and taught him the nuances of being a football professional. Williams still lives in St. Louis and founded a church there. Byrd would be a significant upgrade over Rams free safety Rodney McLeod.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers spent big bucks last year on free-agent safety Dashon Goldson, but there already are rumblings he might not mesh with new head coach Lovie Smith's disciplined system. And guess who's on Smith's staff. Byrd's father is the cornerbacks coach.


Washington endured miserable safety play last year, and owner Daniel Snyder has a history of stuffing money into his roster's holes. Given that Byrd is considered's top available free agent at any position, Snyder likely will be circling.

  • Ralph Phillips

    Why would we not claim him temporarily so that we can trade him for something in return, instead of letting him go away for free? Please explain. I'm still not getting the logic here. You are stating that all these teams are lining up to bid on him. Wouldn't that mean he's highly valuable in a trade?

    • Smilner

      If we trade him, we're only trading the franchise tag - a 1 year rental for the second lowest valued position in the NFL. That's very low value, no matter who you are. My theory is that the Bills are trying to work the system for 2015 draft compensatory picks.

      • JT

        The Bills chose NOT to to put the tag on him so they cant trade him.Hes gone.Byrd stuck it to buffalo last season when he sat. I doubt Buffalo wanted to go through that again so basically Byrd won.No safety is worth the money he is commanding and i wouldnt be surprised if he ends up signing with another team for less. The money they didnt give Byrd can now be used more wisely somewhere else.

    • MaoSayTongue

      I'm pretty sure the Bills can't trade him until he signs the franchise sheet; last year, he didn't sign it in time for a multiyear deal to be done, hence no trade was really possible.

      Byrd wants out of Buffalo--that's why he signed with Eugene Parker. Eugene Parker wants to keep the Bills a bad team so that they can be moved once Satan calls Ralphie home.

  • Tom W

    Eagles or colts. I would do another search. It's all everyone is talking about in Philly. Most Philly news sources are a joke. The legit blogs are better. There is a bunch.

    • JT

      Chip Kelly was his head coach at Oregon.Honestly though i would bet he ends up in Atlanta

      • Tom W

        Actually no he was only the offensive coordinator w him for two years ... much closer to tj ward who he was head coach for.

        Atlanta has a whole lot more problems on the oline and dline before they can get be signing a stud free agent. I count at least 4 positions on both signs of the line that are big holes. matt ryan gets a say after getting beat down every game last year. and w no pass rush to speak of, I'm sure the d coordinator would rather have a great pass rush to help the secondary then a safety w no pass rush.

  • Hal Jam

    I know the answer: whoever is dumb enough to pay him what he wants.

  • Guest

    Who cares ??? The sooner the Bills leave and get off my tax bill the better... and let them take the joke Sabres with them ... these national JOKE franchises just need to go away--- we'll not only survive but THRIVE without them !

    • Tom Nemmer

      Have you tried meditation?

      • Guest

        Gonna give it a shot.

    • Rob_C_from_Amherst

      I agree. And let's also get rid of a ton of bars and restaurants downtown that thrive on hockey fans attending games. Remember when there was a lockout and there were countless stories about how they were struggling to make ends meet? We don't really need them. There's probably better restaurants anyway. Same goes for hotels. So what if teams and their staffs account for thousands of nights of hotel stays in Buffalo. We don't need those hotels either. All those waiters and hotel workers can get jobs in the fast food industry. They need more help there anyway. Do you know how long I waited in the drive-thru lane at Tim Horton's the other day? And just think, if the Sabres and Bills were gone we'd have so many more resources at the News to cover college and high school sports in the area.
      While we're at it... People that don't have kids shouldn't have to pay school taxes. People that don't go to libraries shouldn't have to support those. People that don't have fires shouldn't have to pay for the fire department. People that don't go to......

      • Guest

        Again, who cares ? Stop with the jock sniffing and bull about collateral business and jobs... water will find it's own level without these farces.

  • JandM98

    He will land.. on a pile of money, making snow angels. Mercenaries for hire, short term.

  • MaoSayTongue

    Maybe the Bills should have hired Byrd's dad as defensive coordinator. Duh!

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.