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Posted: Tuesday, 11 March 2014 6:11PM

Jairus Byrd signs with New Orleans, gets $28M guaranteed

(WGR 550) -- While the dust is starting to settle around the NFL in the opening hours of free agency, many of the top safeties to hit the market found a home. You can now include former Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd on that list.
Joining the likes of T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner, Antoine Bethea and Malcolm Jenkins, Byrd has signed his name on the dotted line with a new organization. The New Orleans Saints announce on Tuesday evening that they have signed Byrd to a six-year contract.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the contract is for six years and can be worth a total of $54 million. Even more important than the total amount, Byrd will be paid a guaranteed $28 million through the life of the deal.

Byrd saw the safety market dry up over the course of the first day, with Ward only getting a reported $5.5 million per season from the Denver Broncos and most of the rumored destinations finding a player to fill their void at safety. Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported Byrd wants $9 million per season, and he left the Bills' most recent offer on the table to pursue the free agent market. Byrd got exactly that in New Orleans

He flew to New Orleans on Tuesday to meet with the front office and coaches of the Saints, and elected to sign for the long-term with New Orleans.

The safety will be turning 28 in October, but has 22 interceptions over his first five seasons in the league. The Bills maintained that the door was still open for a potential Byrd return, despite extending fellow safety Aaron Williams through 2018 on a four-year contract that starts in 2015. Williams' average salary per season is $6.5 million.

The Bills will move on with Williams as their top safety, and one of Da'Norris Searcy, Duke Williams or Jonathan Meeks as the other starter. That is, of course, unless Buffalo addresses the position through the rest of free agency or in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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