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Moore views Byrd's contract as motivation

William Moore always plays with passion, but the Atlanta Falcons safety believes he has a little more incentive to step up his game this coming season.

Moore is well aware of the lucrative contract three-time Pro Bowl free safety Jairus Byrd signed with the New Orleans Saints. The former Buffalo Bills standout inked a six-year, $54 million contract that included $28 million guaranteed. Byrd turns 28 in October.

Moore, who turns 29 next month, received a five-year, $30 million deal last March that included $14 million guaranteed.

"Man, I talked to Byrd a couple days before he signed and that's my guy; he was lucky," Moore said. "That's a huge contract, and he's well-deserving. But for other safeties, whatever it takes to get there, you've got to let us know, man. He basically broke the bank.

"It sucks to be in my position. We've all worked hard. You don't play for just the money, but he's basically $30 million better than me. That's the way I look at it."

Moore, a one-time Pro Bowl pick, has made his share of plays as the Falcons' starting strong safety. But as a strong safety, Moore isn't asked to roam the field in the same manner as Byrd. Teams are more willing to invest in a player with elite range and ball skills because such a combination is often difficult to find.

Byrd, a former second-round pick from Oregon in 2009, has 22 interceptions in five seasons, including two returned for scores. Moore, a second-round pick out of Missouri in '09, has 14 interceptions in five seasons, with no touchdowns. Again, both play different safety positions in different defenses.

Many wondered if the Falcons would consider pairing Moore with Byrd, but the team wasn't about to pay that type of money for Byrd.

As for Moore, his average of $5,912,500 per year is 14th among the league's safeties, according to ESPN Stats and Information. He is right above Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu ($5.875 million per year) and right below Indianapolis' LaRon Landry ($6 million year).

Byrd, of course, stands at the top at $9 million per season.

"Absolutely that's a chip on my shoulder, not personally because [Byrd] is my guy," Moore said. "But that's something that I want to prove; that I can be one of those guys of that caliber, too."

With the high likelihood of starting next to a rookie or untested safety following the release of Thomas DeCoud, Moore should get ample opportunity to prove his worth.