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No guarantees, but cold war may have thawed in Jairus Byrd contract talks

No guarantees, but cold war may have thawed in Jairus Byrd contract talks


A Jairus Byrd contract extension is far from finalized and still very much an uncertainty.

Even so, Buffalo Bills fans will be glad to hear what two league sources have told me: Preliminary talks have been pleasant so far.

Compared to last year's cold war between Bills senior vice president of football administration Jim Overdorf and Eugene Parker, Byrd's agent, this should be viewed as an encouraging start.

Byrd wants a long-term contract extension that pays him fair market value. When the Bills used their franchise tag on him last year, he was denied the opportunity to find out what the NFL thought he was worth.

With Byrd frustrated and both sides playing hardball, they rarely spoke and failed to reach a multiyear deal. Byrd played 2013 on a franchise tag that paid him $6.916 million, but his contract is up again.

Byrd's tag for this year would be $8.299 million, and the Bills have until Monday to use it. A contract extension before then seems unlikely.

So the Bills could use their franchise tag to retain Byrd's rights and buy additional time to hammer out a multiyear deal.

That said, negotiations are dictated by deadlines. Once Monday comes and goes, the next big deadline for the franchise tag will be July 15, when teams must sign their tagged players to multiyear extensions or else be limited to only one-year deals.

  • Paul Kawalerski

    I give the Bills credit sticking to their position. Jairus is a great player, but the Bills need to keep their heads here. PLaying the franchise tag is not beneficial for Jairus or the Bills, but it does give the Bills some leverage. I would like to see Jairus stay, but in a contract that is carefully worded to protect the Bills investment if they do pay Byrd what he wants. Time for Whaley to earn his keep here in Buffalo. Let's get it done and move this team into contention.

    • Philip Gibson

      Too bad Whaley doesn't handle the negotiations. That's Paul Overdorfs turf.

      • Paul Piluso

        That is correct. Overdorf, is responsible for negotiating FA contracts and has been for years. Which is why, in my opinion, the Bills have lost a lot of quality players to other teams. Either he is uninformed or unrealistic, with regards to player values or just a poor negotiator and/or worse under instructions from the top (Wil$on) to low ball player's contract offers. Personally, I think it is all three. Also a lot of people blame Parker for the Jason Peters debacle. Parker, works for the player, and from what I see does a great job, representing his players interests. Peters is doing great and the Eagles are very happy to have him. As I am sure they would be to get Byrd, too. If Byrd goes, Overdorf, needs to go as well. @Overdorf: you need to sign Byrd, he is a proven star under very trying circumstances, (4 DC's, in 5 years) 3 Pro Bowls, and 2 All Pro seasons. Sign him and don't create another huge whole that might not ever get filled. Unfortunately, there is no one on the roster, in the draft pool or free agent market that can fully fill his shoes. Byrd is a potential HOF, (with the right team) sign him, build around him and fill the wholes on OL and at LB. Btw, what is going on with Carpenter (K)? Why haven't you signed him yet?

      • Paul Kawalerski

        You're right about Paul Ovendorf; but Paul doesn't work in a bubble. These things are discussed beforehand and ultimately OKed by Whaley and the financial men in the Bill's organization. Paul Ovendorft is merely the mouthpiece to handle talks.

    • Dexter_Morgan_II

      franchise tag may not be beneficial to byrd (it wasn't designed to be) but as designed, it is beneficial to the bills. as to whaley earning his keep, that will come with FA acquisitions and on draft day not vis-à-vis bryd

    • Randy Mccloud

      Byrd is going to get paid...period. The ONLY question is will the Bills will be signing the check. With the increase in the salary cap, Byrd stands to make 8.4 million as the franchise player, not bad for a season of work. Next year he's a free agent, and can go wherever he wants...and get paid. I would love to be in his position. If I was him, I wouldn't care whether they franchised me, or not, either way he get's paid.

      • Paul Kawalerski

        Actually being franchised again does work in the Bills favor. If Byrd were to have a serious injury or any off-field incidents this year, his stock could drop considerably. Byrd and his agent know this and so do the Bills. You're right that Byrd will get paid, but there is much more than getting "Paid" on the table; incentives, guaranteed money, amount of years n the deal, clauses for injury, misconduct, etc… The Bills need to protect this investment and that's where a good GM earns his money. They are looking out for the long term viability of the Bills to be a contender.

  • Samuel Brody

    I'd prefer they agree to a multi-year deal, but all that matters to me is that they don't let him walk away for nothing. Anything but that.

  • Philip Gibson

    My worry is his agent Eugene Parker. History with him isn't too good for the Bills. His price will be around 10 million per year. I don't think they want to make him the highest paid safety but I think they are willing to pay him the 2nd highest. But Parker won't it'll be a stare down. This time the Bills get there man.

  • Hal Jam

    Tag him this year when we have the cap money to spare. Let him leave next year. No safety is worth the kind of money he wants. Rather give it to Darius.

    • Randy Mccloud

      Yeah, let our 3 time pro bowl safety, who's at least one of the top 3 safeties in the league go, because our secondary was so good without him. Hopefully the Bills have more sense than you. Newsflash: Darius isn't the best defensive player the Bills have...Byrd is.

      • Hal Jam

        And with Mario Williams making $25m a year how do you expect to keep CJ, Darius, Woods, and EJ Manuel? Can't have it all in the NFL and some positions are harder to replace than others. Byrd is a good player, but I'd personally rather have Darius.

  • Chad Martin

    Someone needs to show Overdorf the door!!! Until then,expect more of the same. Can't believe he's still a part of this organization.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining 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.