Sean Payton on Jairus Byrd: I think he’s progressing well


The Saints signed safety Jairus Byrd to a six-year contract worth as much as $54 million before the 2014 season, but they haven’t seen much return on their investment to this point.

Byrd missed offseason work after having back surgery last year and then played four games in the regular season before going on injured reserve with a knee injury. Byrd remains something of a ghost as he’s on the physically unable to prepare list because of a knee issue this summer and coach Sean Payton won’t say whether it’s related to last year’s injury. He’s short on other specifics as well.

“I think he’s progressing well,” Payton said, via Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I think sooner than later we’ll get a chance to see him. At the same time we’re going to be smart.”

Holder points out that Byrd’s limited offseason work last year left him behind in terms of fitting into the defense and he’d presumably run that same risk this year if his absence drags on too much longer. A team that needs to be much better on that side of the ball needs Byrd to be one of their leaders, something that won’t happen if he can’t get on the field for a more extended period than we’ve seen to this point in his Saints tenure.