The NFL preseason is just around the corner, and the Buffalo Bills still don’t have Free Safety Jairus Byrd signed on a long term deal, as the franchised tagged Pro Bowler is holding out until he gets a deal that makes him the highest paid player in his position.
For now, Byrd is going to make $6.9 million due to the franchise tag “slapped” on him in March. He is the only franchised player in the NFL who has yet to sign his tender, and the deadline for franchised players to agree to long-term contracts passed.
Still, there are no talks between the team and the player, who has been to the Pro Bowl and a first-team All-Pro selection in 2009 and 2012, leading the AFC in interceptions during those seasons as well.
The highest paid safety in the NFL is Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers with $7.5 million, and is followed by Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chiefs making just over $7 million. Byrd is considered quite the ball-hawks with 18 interceptions over the last three seasons, but the Bills’ defense is still one of the worst in the NFL, ranking 22nd in yards last season and 26th in points allowed.
Is Byrd actually a top 5 safety, making him a viable choice to be the highest paid at the position? That’s arguable, and as someone put it, the Bills can lose 10 games a season without Byrd upgrading their secondary for so much money.
We worked very hard to come to a long-term agreement with Jairus, but unfortunately were unable to reach one before today’s deadline. 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.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bills slowly trying to shop Byrd in some sort of trade as it seems like his dream of becoming the highest paid player in his position won’t happen while he’s playing for the Bills.