The Miami Dolphins have more than $30 million in salary cap space and are expected to be major players in free agency for the second year in a row. Offensive line is an obvious area of need, but what about the safety position?
Should the Dolphins take the plunge with free-agent safety Jairus Byrd?
The former three-time Pro Bowler is one of the best players on the market and won’t come cheap. A source informed ESPN.com's Dolphins page Monday that Byrd is seeking a contract in the range of $9 million per season. That number would make him the second highest-paid safety in the NFL behind Eric Berry, who has a six-year, $60 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFL Network reported over the weekend that Miami and the St. Louis Rams are among the teams expressing interest in Byrd. He is a dynamic playmaker who has 22 career interceptions with the Buffalo Bills. Byrd also had plenty of success against the Dolphins in the AFC East.
Signing Byrd would fill a need in Miami’s secondary and take away a top defensive player from a division rival. That is a win-win for the Dolphins. However, Miami has been on a spending spree since last year. The Dolphins recently shelled out $29.3 million contract for safety Reshad Jones last season and a $32 million contract for Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes last week. Adding Byrd could allocate $100 million or more into Miami’s starting secondary, which is a significant investment.
The Dolphins have other well-defined needs such as offensive tackle, guard and defensive tackle. These are not sexy positions, but they must be addressed if Miami wants to improve on last year's 8-8 record.
Potentially signing Byrd would make a huge splash for the Dolphins. But it does not come without financial risks.