The deadline for NFL teams to use the franchise tag came and went on Monday afternoon and in a move that may have surprised some, the Buffalo Bills did not use the franchise tag on veteran safety Jairus Byrd.
The Bills used the franchise tag on Byrd last year and paid him $6.9 million for the 2013 season, but decided against doing it again this season.
“We have negotiated with representation for Jairus Byrd for more than a year, but have yet to reach an agreement on a contract extension,” Bills general manager Doug Whaley told ESPN.com on Monday. “We remain open to getting a deal done with Jairus, but we have chosen not to use the franchise tag on any of our impending unrestricted free agents.
Although the Bills would like to keep a player as talented as Byrd, he can now hit the open market when free agency begins a week from Tuesday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who employ Byrd’s father, could be a landing spot.
In 11 games last season, Byrd has 48 tackles, four interceptions, six passes defensed, one sack and one forced fumble.