While the deal between the New Orleans Saints and Jairus Byrd is a huge step in the right direction for the franchise, it means that several prominent players on the team will soon be unemployed.
On Tuesday night, the Saints came to terms with Byrd on a six-year, $54 million deal after the Pro Bowler opted not to re-sign with the Buffalo Bills this offseason.
It’s a great move for an already-exciting New Orleans defense, but means that the team must clear some cap space before the deal can become official – after all, they came into the day with approximately $2.4 million to work with. Consequently, several of the team’s prominent players could soon be handed their pink slips.
Some of the players expected to be let go include Pierre Thomas and Broderick Bunkley, who would clear a total of $9 million in cap space if both released. Darren Sproles is also expected to be traded shortly, which would open another $3.5 million. One way or another, axes must fall for the Byrd deal to work.
No matter how they get it done, GM Mickey Loomis clearly has a plan in place to make room for Byrd.
Considered one of the top talents available via free agency, Byrd will team with 2013 first-round Kenny Vaccaro to form one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. After watching Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper hinder the secondary throughout the previous campaign, the Saints can sleep easy knowing Byrd will be patrolling center field in 2014. And we all know that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will enjoy having such an explosive playmaker to take advantage of.
As great as the move is, though, it means anyone counting a significant amount against the cap will be on notice. Expect several Saints to hit the open market soon.
With Byrd coming to the Big Easy the Saints have a dynamic secondary for 2014. See the impact he makes in person by getting your Saints tickets here.