This contract makes Jairus Byrd the highest paid safety in the NFL, paying him 54 million over 6 years with 28 million guaranteed, but he deserves to be. Byrd has been the league 5 years, since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2009, and he’s been an above average starter on Pro Football Focus in each season. He’s been especially dominant over the past 3 seasons, grading out 3rd in 2011 among safeties and 2nd in 2012.
In 2013, he was “just” 8th because he missed 5 games to start the season, but he was just as dominant upon return as he was before the injury and he doesn’t have an injury history, missing 2 games from 2009-2012 combined. Even still, he’s one of just two safeties to grade out in the top-8 in all 3 seasons from 2011-2013, along with Eric Weddle. He’s the best deep safety in the NFL and arguably the best overall safety. He’s what everyone thinks Earl Thomas is (not that Thomas is bad).
If any other team gave him this deal, I’d give them an A- because I think it’s appropriate, but not outstanding value. However, I’m giving the Saints a B+ because they already have a lot of big contracts on their cap, with guys like Drew Brees, Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs, Marques Colston, Curtis Lofton, among others, and they still need to re-sign Jimmy Graham long-term. This team core is going to be really expensive long-term because of how top heavy their cap is, which is going to hurt their ability to add depth in the future.