The Buffalo Bills were in a no-win contract situation with disgruntled safety Jairus Byrd, and it looks like they may have finally thrown in the towel.
The Bills did not designate Byrd with the franchise tag, and it has been reported by ESPN that Byrd is now set to become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team he likes.
The chance that Buffalo will now be able to re-sign the impact safety are slim. Byrd wasn’t happy about being franchised by the team last season, and made that clear by holding out well into training camp before finally signing his tender offer.
It all comes down to money in the end. Byrd wants to be the highest paid safety in the league, and the Bills have over $30 million in cap space already tied up in their defensive line. They just don’t have the money to pay Byrd what he wants…not that they didn’t try to reach an agreement.
Now that Byrd is hitting the open market, there will be no shortage of teams looking to help him cash in. Defensive backs and safeties who can become impact players are high on the list of many teams. Byrd is one of the top 10 safeties in the league and is in the prime of his career. The near $10 million a year he’s looking for will probably come fairly quickly.
So who are some of the teams that could use (and afford) Jairus Byrd’s services? How about the New York Jets, who just lost their big playmaker in the defensive secondary last season. Or the Philadelphia Eagles, who have struggled in defending the pass, keeping pressure on the offense to put up massive numbers each week. The Atlanta Falcons also have some spending to do this offseason, and are never shy about wanting to upgrade the secondary.
The sweeps for Jairus Byrd is about to begin, and this one may simply boil down to the highest bidder.