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Saints to release Jairus Byrd when free agency begins

Safety Jairus Byrd will be available when free agency begins.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday the New Orleans Saints will release the veteran secondary man when free agency begins March 9, per a source. The 30-year-old Byrd played the last three seasons in New Orleans after playing his first five years in the league in Buffalo.

When Byrd entered free agency following the 2013 season, he was one of the most highly coveted players on the market -- including being listed as the No. 1 available on Around the NFL's top 101 free agents that offseason. He was later named the biggest free-agent flop by Around the NFL following the 2014 season. Byrd signed a six-year contract with the Saints with $28 million in guaranteed money to come to New Orleans.

Byrd never matched those expectations. His career there got off to a bad start as he suffered a torn meniscus just four games into his first season with his new team. He totaled just three interceptions the next two years in New Orleans. Byrd had nine interceptions in his rookie campaign alone.

After a particularly bad game against the Falcons last season, Saints coach Sean Payton benched Byrd prior to their Week 4 game against the Chargers. He did, however, come on a bit late in the season. He had two interceptions in the Saints' late-season win over the Buccaneers on Christmas Eve.

Despite Byrd's underwhelming stint with the Saints, he should still garner interest on the open market. There are plenty of teams that could use a veteran presence in the secondary. So long as a team isn't depending on him to be their primary force up top, Byrd could rebound next season elsewhere.

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