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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Will Bills' Jairus Byrd fly the coop?

By on 12/31/2013 11:15:00 AM

I have covered the Jairus Byrd-Buffalo Bills saga since the Bills placed the franchise tag on the star safety in March with Byrd missing the entire preseason and all workouts and minicamps.  I have covered Byrd not signing his franchise tag tender until a few weeks before the start of the regular season and I have covered Byrd's comments in the media hinting that he was not happy being "tagged" and he wants a long-term contract.  With all that, the Bills now do not want to lose Byrd, reports Joe Buscaglia of  The question is does Byrd want to stay.

Missing the first five games of the regular season with plantar fasciitis, Byrd turned in a Pro Bowl year with 48 tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble, a sack and the aforementioned Pro Bowl selection.

With the relentless back and forth nonsense between the Bills and Byrd throughout the year, when it came time to put on the helmet and strap up, Byrd did just that.  Byrd played tough, played hurt and played hard for a team that was not going to the playoffs.

Byrd played that way in seasons prior and his coveted long-term deal from the Bills never materialized.

Byrd is still eligible for the franchise tag and for one year, the Bills would have to cough up a little over 8 million pounds of birdseed.  Byrd, however, wants a long-term deal and now the Bills claim they want to keep him.  Bills General Manager Doug Whaley had this to say about the Byrd situation, keeping all options on the table including the franchise tender: 
We've had a conversation -- myself and Russ -- sat and talked to Jairus, and we're gonna make an offer to the guy and we're gonna try to keep him.  We're gonna try to the best of abilities because we're in the business of collecting good players and he's a good player.  That's always an option [the franchise tender]. We're not gonna back ourselves into a corner and eliminate any possibility of trying to retain a good player.  We're gonna leave all options on the table.
Byrd can do nothing more to show that he is an elite defensive back.  He plays hard, he plays smart and he plays hurt.  He also plays for a franchise that is disingenuous and late to the party when it comes to "retaining good player[s]."

The Bills now claim they want Byrd, but does the Byrd want the Bills.

You can follow me on twitter @JAFOScottRyan


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