Buffalo Bills, Jairus Byrd cannot reach long-term agreement by deadline
Neither side talked much publically regarding the contract situation this offseason. However, Bills first-year general manager Doug Whaley issued a statement through the team regarding the failed negotiations after the deadline passed on Monday 4 p.m. ET.
"We worked very hard to come to a long-term agreement with Jairus, but unfortunately, were unable to reach one before today's deadline,” Whaley released in the statement. “Our attention will now be focused on a one-year agreement with him and on training camp with our continued efforts to prepare our team for the upcoming season."
The Bills slapped the franchise tag label on Byrd in March, and the two sides had until Monday’s deadline to work out a long term deal. At least seven franchise tagged NFL players tagged this offseason (including Byrd) were unable to reach a long-term agreement (with only Denver Broncos’ Ryan Clady getting a multi-year new contract) prior to the deadline. However, Byrd is the only one in the mix who has not signed his $6.9 million franchise tender, and can only play under a one-year contract as a result of missing the deadline.
It’s reported that Byrd was looking to become the one of the league’s highest paid safeties. In order to meet those demands, the Bills would need to hammer out a deal similar to the 5-year, $40 million deal Eric Weddle received from the San Diego Chargers in 2011. Instead the Bills were reportedly looking to pay Byrd up to the top 3 or 4 at his position. At that, Byrd’s agent essentially shut down negotiations, with no contract talks being held as the deadline passed away, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
However, you have to wonder if the Bills expected contract talks to end badly with Byrd and thus picked up two safeties in April’s draft.
A second-round pick out of Oregon in 2009, Byrd has since appeared in 62 career games for the Bills, racking up 308 tackles and 10 forced fumbles while also defending 27 passes.
Last season, Byrd recorded 79 tackles, while intercepting five passes and forcing four fumbles on his way to the 2012 Pro Bowl, his second Pro Bowl appearance following the one in his rookie season.