What an insane day in the NFL with all the news blowing up in our faces by the millisecond. I expected it to be somewhat quiet for the Saints, and boy was I wrong. First I was floored to see that the Philadelphia Eagles gave Malcolm Jenkins a 3 year deal for $16.25 million. Jenkins never lived up to his 1st round draft status, in my opinion, and never transitioned to safety quite like any of us hoped he would. To his credit he was a total professional and a great guy. Further, it left a hole at free safety that the Saints would need to fill. And boy, that didn't take long to take care of.
The Saints signed who I believe is the very best free agent on the entire market this season (considering Jimmy Graham and Greg Hardy both got franchised) in free safety Jairus Byrd. This is a substantial upgrade over Jenkins and it gives the Saints the playmaking ballhawk type safety we've all been so desperate for since Darren Sharper retired. Byrd's deal is 6 year for $54 million, which makes him the highest paid safety in NFL history.
Interesting when you consider that Jenkins was drafted in the 1st round in 2009 and Byrd was draft in the 2nd round of the same draft.
Tackles: Jenkins 358, Byrd 356
Interceptions: Jenkins 6, Byrd 22
Forced Fumbles: Jenkins 6, Byrd 11
Fumbled Recovered: Jenkins 4, Byrd 5
Pass Defended: Jenkins 37, Byrd 33
So some areas are similar but it's clear has infinitely better ball skills. Jenkins was a class act all the way and I wish him well in Philadelphia. He got great money and that was absolutely the right move for him, and also for the Saints to go with Byrd.
Jairus Byrd was rated #1 on Pro Football Focus' top 75 free agents and Jenkins was 73.