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Bills will meet Jairus Byrd's agent Saturday; franchise tag still in play

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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Buffalo Bills have announced they will meet with Jairus Byrd's agent Saturday to discuss what it will take to re-sign the Pro Bowl safety.

Bills General Manager Doug Whaley wouldn't say today whether the club has decided to use the franchise tag on Byrd for a second straight year.

"In that situation, you're going to use every option open," Whaley told reporters at the NFL scouting combine. "We don't want to put ourselves in a corner, and I don't want to say to you guys, 'We're going to do this,' and then something changes and we don't something different. Then you guys look at me different when you ask me a question.

"We as an organization, again, we're going to leave every option open for Jairus because we would like him back."

Byrd's tag for this year would be $8.299 million. Many analysts believe that's too much money for a safety.

If the Bills don't franchise Byrd and he signs elsewhere, then Whaley said a spot would open up for sophomores Duke Williams or Jonathan Meeks. No mention was made of Da'Norris Searcy or Jim Leonhard.

"We're excited about the guys we have on campus," Whaley said. "With Duke Williams and Meeks, those guys showed not only some athletic ability and some play-making skills on special teams, we think if unfortunately something comes up where we can't keep Byrd, that those guys will have a chance to show what they have."

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.