Buffalo Bills franchise player Jairus Byrd has finally come to his sense, like I predicted a month ago, and signed his tender of $6.916 million. Byrd had originally said he wanted to be the NFL’s highest-paid safety, but alas, he has caved — thankfully.
The Bills will welcome him back to practice Thursday, and fans should be thrilled their Pro Bowler is back. Byrd was rated as the second best safety last season by Pro Football Focus. Last year, Byrd notched 76 tackles, five interceptions, six passes defensed and four forced fumbles.
Going into the 2013 campaign with their stud defensive back, the Bills will have to plan ahead for the year of 2014 when Byrd will likely test the market. Will he wind up back in Buffalo? Or will the team decide not to pay him what he demands? It will be interesting to watch the development in contract talks as the season goes on.
The highest-paid safety in the NFL at the moment is Pittsburgh Steelers‘ All Pro Troy Polamalu, at just over $9 million per year. Byrd is absolutely solidifying himself as one of the best, but he’ll have to perform at a high level for a bit longer to get himself to Polamalu’s status.
Buffalo travels to face the Washington Redskins in their third preseason game this Saturday, so Byrd should get a decent amount of playing time as most starters will play a full half and some into the third quarter. I am eager to see how Byrd performs and if any rust has developed throughout his absence from training camp.