DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins' needs along the offensive line is well known, but the team may be preparing to make a big addition to the team's secondary.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Dolphins have expressed "real interest" in free agent safety Jairus Byrd. The former Buffalo Bills safety is considered one of the jewels of the free agent class, but will come with a price tag of roughly $9 million per season.
Byrd would be a large improvement over Chris Clemons. Last season, Byrd finished with 48 tackles and four interceptions. All he does is get turnovers, especially interceptions, which the Dolphins could desperately use in the secondary.
For his career, Byrd has 356 tackles, 3 sacks, 33 pass defenses, and 22 interceptions. He's also forced 11 fumbles and scored two defensive touchdowns in his five year career.
However, adding Byrd's expected salary of $9 million per season to a secondary would give the Fins one of the highest paid safety combinations in the NFL. Last year, the Fins signed Reshad Jones to a four-year, $29.36 million contract with $15 million guaranteed.
Adding Byrd at a salary of $9 million this season would give the Dolphins a safety combination, depending on Byrd's salary cap hit, that would cost at least $12 million. However, the bulk of Byrd's contract could be spread out to alleviate cap problems, or front-loaded to help with the cap later.
Where it will begin to get costly is in 2015 when Jones' cap number jumps to $7.76 million and Byrd's would still be around $9 million, again depending on how the contract is structured. Adding in Brent Grimes' salary cap number in 2015 of $10 million and the Dolphins could have almost $30 million tied up in three defensive players.
However, remember the salary cap is expected to continue to rise in the coming seasons. Plus, the Fins can clear out an additional $5.4 million in 2014 salary cap space at any time by cutting cornerback Dimitri Patterson, whose play isn't worth that type of contract.
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