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NEW ORLEANS, LA – DECEMBER 24: Jairus Byrd #31 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after an interception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 24, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Safety Jairus Byrd has agreed to a deal with the Carolina Panthers. Financial details on the contract have not yet been released. Byrd had spent the last three season as a member of the New Orleans Saints.

Jairus Byrd Signs With Carolina Panthers

On March 1, it was reported that Byrd would released by New Orleans when free agency began after three relatively disappointing seasons with the team. Despite a few strong games near the end of the 2016 season, the Saints decided it was the best course of action to cut Byrd.

The eight-year veteran had a strong start to his career in Buffalo, which helped lead him to the lucrative four-year deal that the Saints offered him in 2014. A combination of lackluster play and a series of injuries plagued the free safety in the Big Easy and Byrd became a scapegoat of sorts for three consecutive 7-9 seasons.

The Oregon defensive back decided to forego his senior season and left college a year early to enter the NFL draft. The second round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2009, Byrd was almost an immediate starter and was making a name for himself around the NFL. By the time his rookie contract expired in 2013, suitors were lining up to enter the Jairus Byrd sweepstakes. Whether or not New Orleans “won” that sweepstakes is a matter of opinion.

Cutting Byrd will save the New Orleans Saints $7.8M in cap space in 2017. Most, if not all of that money will go right back into the defense, which ranked 31st in 2016 (only the San Francisco was worse). Byrd combined for 82 tackles (56 solo, 26 assisted) and collected two interceptions in 2016. Both of those statistics were highs for Byrd in New Orleans, again due to a lack of playing time being sidelined by injury. Byrd’s father, Gill, is currently the cornerbacks coach of the Buffalo Bills.

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