Nov 17, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd (31) celebrates his first half interception against the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Should Chicago Bears Go After Jairus Byrd?

Over the weekend, three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd rejected a multiyear contract with the Buffalo Bills. Reports are that the Bills will not franchise him again, which will make him a free agent.

The Bears need help at the safety position. Chris Conte and Major Wright ranked 82nd and 86th, respectively, out of 86 players. Could the team go after Byrd?

Byrd’s presence would be an immediate upgrade the secondary, an area very important with all the top quarterbacks in the NFC North. There are also other safeties like Chris Clemons, but if Emery wants to make a splash, Byrd would be it.

Even though the new salary cap was raised by $10 million to $133 million, the Bears would still need to make some cuts to free up money. They are currently just over $9.5 million under the new cap. The Bears are expected to cut Julius Peppers, saving them $9.8 million. If they also cut Earl Bennett ($2.45 million) and Adam Podlesh ($1.025 million) then they would have about $22.8 million to work with. There is a possibility also of Michael Bush ($1.85 million) and Chris Conte ($1.4 million), but I do not see a better option at fullback than Bush, and Emery recently spoke to the media about keeping Conte, though I do not know why.

The Bears presumably would already have their priorities for free agency set. Byrd felt that there was enough interest out there for him to reject a deal that would have made him one of the top-paid safeties in the league for part of it. Perhaps he got wind that some playoff contender is interested in him?

Certainly, signing Byrd would help make the Bears, who have missed the playoffs in the last week two seasons in a row, a stronger playoff contender. His signing and another (we are looking at you, Michael Bennett) would be that big splash Emery is looking for to bring back the menacing Bears defense of two seasons ago. The salary cap may be tricky, but Emery is a master at cap-ology so he could find a way. Bears fans are hoping he can work some magic.

Tags: Chicago Bears Jairus Byrd

  • Dirkdeez20

    Yes indeed let’s go get him. Go Bears

  • Erik Lambert

    They’d have to clean a lot off the books to make enough room to get him. I’d love to have him on the roster but I just think he’s too expensive and too sought after by other teams.

    • Jordan Campbell

      Assume Peppers will be a cap casualty and perhaps re-structure some of their current deals, and the Bears could fit him into the budget. Of course, the contract would have to be back-loaded.

    • John Vassar

      I agree with you, they would have to cut Peppers and a few others and even then I think he will be out of the price range. Then again the Bears contract guys are pretty imaginative so who knows but would be a solid p/u.

      • Erik Lambert

        They have the contract guy in Cliff Stein. The question is can they convince Byrd with their negotiating.

        • Carlos

          If the Bears can come up with the money, convincing him might not be too difficult. He had a nice offer from Buffalo, but he might have thought about spending more years in that organization and thought better of it.

    • Carlos

      Don’t forget that Emery is a salary cap guru, so he can work cap magic. Remember, in addition to the cuts I stated above, Jay Cutler has a clause in his contract that allows the Bears to move money around to free up cap space.

      • Erik Lambert

        True but remember that moving around always ends up biting a team later on. I think they’ll try to avoid using that clause until later. The roster cuts should free up enough space. The question is how much are the Bears willing to spend at the cost of possibly missing out on other free agents. Is Byrd worth that much? We’ll find out.