Deja Vu For Buffalo Bills Safety Jairus Byrd in 2014 Offseason

By Ryan Womeldorf
Jairus Byrd
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Same song, different season.

That’s how it’s got to feel for Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd heading into the offseason. Last year, there was a bit of turmoil over his contract status as Byrd, looking for a long-term deal, was given the franchise tag by the Bills. This year they have the same decision to make but with even greater consequences.

Should the Bills choose to tag Byrd as their franchise player for the second consecutive season it would cost them at least $8 million. But the greater cost would be that it would likely alienate Byrd and prevent the two sides from coming together on a long-term deal to keep the dynamic safety in Western New York. According to ESPN, Bills general manager Doug Whaley said:

“We’re going to leave all options on the table. We’ve had a conversation, myself and Russ, sat and talked to Jairus, and we’re going to make an offer to the guy and we’re going to try to keep him.”

Some believe that Byrd has played his final game in a Bills uniform and his teammates seem to be planning accordingly. Aaron Williams, Byrd’s teammate of the last three seasons who moved to safety alongside Byrd and enjoyed a career year, left a signed jersey with a farewell message in Byrd’s locker on Monday. The Bills tweeted a photo of it during locker clean-out day.

Aaron Williams hung this jersey in Jairus Byrd’s locker.

— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) December 30, 2013


Williams to Byrd: “To Byrd Man: Preciate everything you’ve done for us. Wish you the best of luck. Always ball it out for Jesus. Phil 4:6”

— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) December 30, 2013

Byrd left Sunday’s game against the Patriots with an ankle injury and was not present for the three-hour period that reporters had access to the Bills’ locker room on Monday. After the game, Byrd took to twitter to reflect a bit:

All things happen for a reason… Learning and growing all the time.

— jairus byrd (@jairusbyrd) December 30, 2013


I’m so thankful that I had the privilege to play with this secondary and be coached by Donnie Henderson…Blessed

— jairus byrd (@jairusbyrd) December 30, 2013


I also appreciate you fans, you all have been great during my time here.

— jairus byrd (@jairusbyrd) December 30, 2013

We won’t have to wait terribly long to find out what’s going to happen between the two sides: NFL teams can begin using the franchise tag on players starting on February 17 with a deadline of 4 p.m. ET on March 3 to apply the tag. If the Bills and Byrd can’t work something out before then, the team will have to decide whether it wants to franchise him once again or let him walk.

Bills fans, including yours truly, hope to see the Byrd man fly in Orchard Park next year.

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