New Bills head coach Doug Marrone will have the opportunity to place the franchise tag on Byrd, something he should really consider doing. However, Marrone also has to figure out a way to keep guard Andy Levitre, which means he will have to choose between the two players on who to franchise. Most would say it is a no brainer to keep Byrd but talented offensive linemen are hard to come by.
If Buffalo decides to go in the favor of Levitre, then Byrd will have the luxury of testing out free agency. This is something that should excite the 26-year old because he is one of the top free agent safety in the 2013 off-season. The fourth-year player is coming off what is arguably the best season of his career in which he posted 76 tackles, five interceptions, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six passes defended.
Considering Tampa Bay ranked dead last in the league in opponent passing yards per game (297.4) and gave up the second most 20-yard or more plays (69) it goes without question that a change at safety needs to be made. The Buccaneers are clearly in desperate need of solid defensive backs, as Ronde Barber and Eric Wright could both be possibly leaving the team this year. The 38-year old Barber may retire, while Wright is expected to be released after failing a drug test for performance-enhancing drugs.
The Bills would be insane not to retain Byrd, but stranger things have happened in the northeast. Expect a full on feeding frenzy if the San Diego, California native decides to check out the free agent waters. The good thing for Tampa Bay is they have the deep pockets to hang with the big boys this year, and considering they have no choice but to come away with a big named defensive back, look for Byrd to be wearing a Buccaneers jersey in 2013 if the Bills do not franchise him.