When Jairus Byrd and the Bills entered contract negotiations last offseason, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement, and Byrd eventually played the 2013 season under the franchise tag. A year later, Bills president Russ Brandon doesn’t see any reason why the previous stalemate should prevent the team from striking a deal with Byrd this time around, as he tells John Wawrow of The Associated Press.
“It’s a process and there’s no carryover. You start over again and you try to get something done,” Brandon said on Monday. “We just weren’t able to come up with a solution that worked for both parties, so you reset it and start again.”
Byrd missed the first few games of the 2013 season with plantar fasciitis, but was a key part of an improved Bills defense upon his return, grabbing four interceptions in 11 games and earning a spot in the Pro Bowl. The 28-year-old safety will be an unrestricted free agent this season, though the Bills could use the franchise tag on him one more time. In that case, Byrd’s one-year price tag would increase to about $8.3MM.
Still, it sounds as if the Bills would prefer to work something longer-term out with their free agent safety. Brandon tells Wawrow that Buffalo has maintained “great communication” with Byrd and his agent, and that the team intends to work hard to reach an agreement. For his part, Byrd said earlier this month that he’d be open to a long-term extension from the Bills.