Eagles Show Interest In Jairus Byrd, Other Safeties

Jairus Byrd 1Jairus Byrd is the top free agent safety on the open market but this isn't the first time the Eagles have shown interest in bringing him to Philadelphia. (Image courtesy of BuffaloBills.com)

NFL free agency is set to open today at 4pm and the Eagles are expected to once again make safety a priority when the floodgates open. 

According to John Clayton of ESPN, the Eagles have already kicked the tires on Jairus Byrd, believed to be the top safety on the open market. 

This is not the first time the Eagles have looked into Byrd, after looking into the possibility of trading for the University of Oregon product last season when the Bills had him on the trade market.

"They do like Byrd to a certain extent," Adam Caplan said during an interview Monday with Joe DeCamara on 97.5 The Fanatic. "They were engaged in trade talks last year for Jairus Byrd, and it just didn't come down to fruition. It was hard to do because he was on the franchise tag last year, and remember once the franchise tag deadline of July 15 is over, you can't sign a franchise player to an extension. So that just made it very difficult to do. This time around, I think the money is way too high, a reported $9 million. I think the number would have to be significantly lower to get involved."

Given Byrd's lofty contract expectations – in the $9 million per year ballpark – if the Eagles interest is legitimate, they likely will explore other options and take a wait and see approach and see if his price tag will come down later in the week. 

Some other names at safety to keep an eye on include Mike Mitchell from Carolina who appears to fit the Eagles scheme, perhaps even better than Byrd. Last season Mitchell, 27, finished with 66 tackles and four interceptions in his first season with the Panthers. 

The Eagles have already reached out to Mitchell during the weekend's 'legal tampering' period. 

Beyond Mitchell, keep an eye out for players such as Malcom Jenkins. Jenkins posted 68 tackles, two interceptions and 2.5 sacks with the New Orleans Saints in 2014. He could command a contract significantly lower than Byrd's, in the $3 million per year area, which could make him a more attractive option to the Eagles. 

Previously Chris Clemons seemed to be drawing intertest from the organization, but that has since cooled. 

While general manager Howie Roseman and company enter this free agency period with roughly $24 million in cap space to spend, they also must prepare to sign the likes of Fletcher Cox, Brandon Boykin, Mychal Kendricks and Nick Foles following this season and can transfer cap space from this year to next year to make those moves more feasible. 

Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.