The Saints announced that free safety Jairus Byrd has been placed on IR, ending his season, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter). Byrd apparently tore his lateral meniscus in practice on Tuesday. It’s a tough blow for a Saints defense that has already been struggling through four games this season.
This isn’t what the Saints hoped for when they signed the former Bill to a six-year, $54MM contract over the offseason with $18.3MM fully guaranteed. What New Orleans envisioned was Byrd forming a threatening safety duo with Kenny Vaccaro. The 27=year-old missed a good chunk of the 2013 season due to injury but still wound up with 37 tackles and four interceptions across eleven games. The knee is another red flag for Byrd, who still has years and money ahead of him on his deal. The safety underwent “optional” back surgery to repair a disc issue in May, not long after he inked his monster contract.
The 1-3 Saints will face the Bucs on Sunday without the help of their secondary’s biggest star. The Saints have given up 396 yards per game this season, the fourth highest average in the NFL.