11:34am: Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald suggests pumping the brakes on any Byrd-to-Miami talk, since he hears it’s a smokescreen (Twitter link).
8:20am: The Dolphins are among the teams expressing “real interest” in prospective free agent safety Jairus Byrd, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). According to Rapoport, while there’s a new regime in place in Miami’s front office, the team appears to be “gearing up for another big year in free agency.”
With cornerback Brent Grimes having already re-signed, and safety Reshad Jones under contract for several more years, Miami’s secondary has a couple solid building blocks. Still, even if the team has other, more pressing needs, there are potential holes to address in that secondary — starting safety Chris Clemons is among the team’s prospective free agents.
Since the window opened for teams to talk to agents about their free agents on safeties, the reports on Byrd have downplayed the interest of clubs we expected to be squarely in the mix. Although the Rams reportedly inquired on the Bills safety, the Browns and Eagles apparently haven’t expressed serious interest. Of course, there’s still plenty of time for both teams, and others, to enter the hunt for the top safety in this year’s free agent class.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com reported this morning that Byrd is seeking a salary of $9MM per year on his new deal, which would make the 27-year-old the NFL’s highest-paid safety by annual average value. When I broke down 2014′s best free agents, I ranked Byrd third overall.