If one was to take ten people and ask them what the Philadelphia Eagles biggest need was, 9 out of 10 would suggest the need for help at the safety position. The Eagles have needed a playmaking safety since Brian Dawkins departure after the 2008 season.
Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Quintin Mikell, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Quintin Demps, Macho Harris, Kurt Coleman, Kenny Phillips. What do all these players have in common? If an NFL GM was looking to build a championship winning defense, none of these names would be on his list of potential players to achieve that goal. Maybe one could make a case for Quintin Mikell, but that’s only if he has an All-Pro safety that he can lean on playing next to him.
Putrid, horrendous, sad, bad, terrible, nauseating, repulsive, mortifying, dead, rotten, rancid, stale, sour, horrifying, unpleasant, etc. It’s easy to go on and on. The position has never been the same since Dawk left. There’s really nothing more to say about that position over the past five years. Lets face it, the Eagles have shit the bed when it comes to recognizing valuable safety play. Sure, maybe that was Andy, or Joe Banner, or both (I’m leaning more towards Banner). But this is a new era of Eagles football. A new regime has taken over, and we have been blessed with a great start. Howie and Chip plan on building a Super Bowl winning team. The system is in place. Now it’s time to fill the void.
With that being said, the number one focus for Roseman & Kelly should be to sign a top notch safety. The position has been lacking for years. Roseman tried to fill the position with “stop-gap” players this past season. The result was rather sad. With the 2014 free agent safety class filled with more than average talent, the Eagles need to strike. The front office needs to open their checkbook, and write Jairus Byrd’s name next to the pay to the order of line.
Byrd is by far the most talented safety on the market. Shit, he is a top five safety in the league. The Eagles have been lacking talent at the position for half a decade. Why not add a top safety at a time when the team needs one most? Especially since they have money to spend.
Byrd is a game changer. He brings leadership, composure, and a great knack for the ball. It is very difficult to teach instinct. Some people have it, others lack it. The special players always seem to find the ball. Byrd is a special player. He baits quarterbacks into thinking they have a man open. Byrd gives receivers an extra step on purpose. He knows he can make up for it. There are other safeties available, but none off Byrd’s caliber. The closest player to Byrd in talent is TJ Ward; however, they have different games. Ward is more of a run stopper. Byrd is a ball-hawk. Byrd is a difference maker. Over his first five seasons, Byrd has snagged 22 interceptions, including nine during his rookie campaign.
On Tuesday morning, Byrd appeared on ESPN for an interview. When the Eagles came up in the discussion, Byrd had good things to say, “I’m familiar with Coach Kelly, and I know they’re headed in the right direction.”
Byrd is a three time Pro Bowl player and many teams look forward to having him sign his name on the contract line. Chicago, Green Bay, Dallas, Buffalo, Cleveland, Philadelphia, NYJ, and Denver are all potential suitors. Byrd was hit with the franchise tag last season and played for Buffalo at a price tag of $6.9 million. Byrd has said that he would like to be a top paid safety in the league. It is said that he is looking to be around the $8- $10 million dollar range.
3 years at $27mill sounds good to me.
Teams are aloud to start talking with free agents starting today, hopefully Howie has the urge to lay out the red carpet.