Contract Forecast: Jairus Byrd
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Contract Forecast: Jairus Byrd

After making arguably the biggest noise in this year's NFL Draft by selecting QB E.J. Manual with the 16th overall pick, the Buffalo Bills next logical order of business moves to the negotiating table in hopes of extending their young and talented safety Jairus Byrd.

With recent deals to new Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson and a sizeable deal for Michael Griffin in Tennessee last offseason, there's a fairly sketched out barometer to base negotiation points with. We'll assess Byrd into our standard forecast tool - breaking down contracts of a selected set of variables safeties, and then comparing these players statistically to Byrd in the years leading up to their respective contract signings. The result will provide us with a projected value for Jairus Byrd's likely extension (or free agent contract).

Quick Points
  • In 2012 Byrd was ranked #2 among safeties by Pro Football Focus, 2nd only to Eric Weddle.
  • According to PFF, in 2012 Byrd was the #1 safety targeted while in primary coverage.
  • Over the past year, Byrd has been the #1 most efficient tackler against the pass, and #3 best against the run.
  • In 2011 Byrd had 3 INT - 2 of which he took back for touchdowns.
Comparable Safeties
Jairus Byrd is currently 26 (won't be 27 until October) so we'll assume that number for our evaluation purposes. We've located four safeties of similar age, all with top contracts and statistical value in recent season. To determine a more likely starting point for our Byrd numbers, we'll perform a linear regression of each contract breakdown listed below.
Player Length Value Avg. Salary Age When Signed
Eric Weddle 5 $40 million $8,000,000 26
Antrel Rolle 5 $37 million $7,400,000 27
Michael Griffin 5 $35 million $7,000,000 27
Dashon Goldson 5 $41.25 million $8,250,000 28
Averages 5 $38,312,500 $7,662,500 27

Note: A linear regression is a formula that plots the provided points of data for Length and Value of the contracts, and then generates the best-fit line for those points, resulting in a "slope" value that translates to an average annual salary.

View the list of Top Average Paid Safeties in the NF
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Because Rolle/Griffin/Goldson were older than Byrd (will be), we'll bring the above contracts down to his age by subtracting from the overall years to make each variable player 26 years old. Once a linear regression is performed on these new numbers we're given the following terms to begin with:

Length Value Avg. Salary (slope)
5 $38,231,061 $7,646,212
Statistical Analyzations, Prime Percentage
Now let's analyze these players statistically in the two years prior to signing their second contract by showing Games Played, Tackles, Assists, Interceptions, and the percentage the opposing WRs caught the ball against the DB. The results will provide us with an indication of his "prime" value prior to signing an extension.
Player Games Tackles Assists INT WR Catch %
Eric Weddle (2009-10, SD) 14.5 73.5 15 2 62.45
Antrel Rolle (2008-09, ARI) 15.5 68.5 11 2.5 70.2
Michael Griffin (2010-11, TEN) 16 72.5 19 3 60.4
Dashon Goldson (2011-12, SF) 15 54.5 13.5 4.5 60.85
Averages 15.25 67.25 14.625 3 63.475
Jairus Byrd (2011-12, BUF) 16 64 23 4 63.85
% Difference 4.92% -4.83% 57.26% 33.33% -.59%
Overall Prime % 18.02%
Our results here show a pretty favorable position for Byrd in comparison to his colleagues statistically, with just slight underperforming numbers in tackles and catch percentage. Byrd stands out tremendously in terms of turnovers, setting himself way ahead of these variables in terms of interceptions. This makes him a rare "looks great on paper" defensive back. Add in a more than comparable Opposing WR Catch %, and it's clear Byrd is deserved of a deal well within the confines of these variable safeties.

We'll factor his Prime Percentage of 18.02%, into our previously determined base value.
Guaranteed Money
Byrd has been incredible durable through the duration of his rookie contract in Buffalo, missing only two games in 4 years to date. With the exception of Eric Berry who's #5 overall contract in 2010 scored him over $25M guaranteed with the Chiefs, the going rate for safeties is between $15M - $19M, or around 43% of the total value.
Player Value True Guarantees % Guaranteed
Eric Weddle $40,000,000 $19,000,000 47.5%
Antrel Rolle $37,000,000 $15,000,000 40.5%
Michael Griffin $35,000,000 $15,000,000 42.9%
Dashon Goldson $41,250,000 $18,000,000 43.6%
Adjusted Regression 43.6%
Results

Length of the Contract
Looking at safety contracts in recent years the 5 year deal seems to be status quo. While Byrd is on the younger side of our variables, it's still safe to assume he'll garner the standard deal.

Value of the Contract
Our initial age-adjusted regression provided an average annual salary just north of $7.6M, a figure that would place him 5th highest on the average annual safety list. It's clear though with performance, durability, age and our statistical comparisons that Byrd certainly deserves a look at a maximum deal - either with Buffalo or on the free agent market. By factoring in our 18% Prime Percentage figure to our original base valu we're able to output the following forecast:

Spotrac's Prediction: 5 years, $45,112,652

  •  Average annual salary: $9,022,530
  •  Guaranteed money: $19,669,116

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