Even though the writing has been on the wall for some time, it's now official for the Buffalo Bills and franchised safety Jairus Byrd. No deal was reached by the 4 pm deadline Monday, meaning the two sides can no longer negotiate a long-term agreement until after the 2013 season.
In early March the Bills designated Byrd as their franchise player, agreeing to pay him a guaranteed salary of $6.916 million if he were to sign his tender. To this point, Byrd is the only player of eight in the NFL this year to receive the franchise tag and not sign the one-year tender.
Now the two sides may only agree on a one-year contract, whether it be Byrd signing his one-year tender or the parties working out a separate one-year deal. Since Byrd has yet to sign his tender, he and his agent, Eugene Parker, could push to put language in to the contract to keep the Bills from placing the franchise tag on the safety again in 2014.
Bills' GM Doug Whaley issued this statement just past the 4 pm deadline:
“We worked very hard to come to a long-term agreement with Jairus, but unfortunately were unable to reach one before today’s deadline. Our attention will now be focused on a one-year agreement with him and on training camp with our continued efforts to prepare our team for the upcoming season.”
A second-round pick in 2009, Byrd has spent each of the first four seasons of his career as the starting free safety in the Bills' secondary. In his time there, he earned two separate trips to the Pro Bowl. Byrd has 18 interceptions and 10 forced fumbles over his first four seasons.