(WGR 550) -- When the month of March in 2013 kicked off, the Buffalo Bills made the declaration that safety Jairus Byrd was one of their most important players to the team. They elected to use the franchise tag on the impending unrestricted free agent, securing his playing rights for at least one more season.
Whether or not Byrd, along with agent Eugene Parker, decide to give the Bills the entire season is another question entirely.
Over four months have passed and there still is no resolution in the matter at hand. Byrd has not signed his franchise tag tender, which would pay him $6.916 million over the course of one season, and the two sides have not struck a long-term agreement either.
As far as the latter is concerned, the Bills and Byrd are running out of time to negotiate a contract that extends past only one season. If an agreement is not in place and in to league offices by Monday, July 15 at 4 pm, the Bills may only negotiate a one-year deal with the top safety on their roster.
If it does extend past the mid-July deadline for franchise tagged players, the two sides could get in to some slippery territory with training camp right around the corner. If no deal is reached, Byrd has the option to stay away from the team until after Week 10 -- November 12, 2013 more specifically -- of the regular season to sign his franchise tag tender and still earn an accrued season in the NFL.
That is the likely worst-case scenario for both the Bills and Byrd, which would keep the safety off the field and away from the new coaching staff as the rest of the team picks up the new defense.
After making the Pro Bowl two out of his first four seasons with the Bills, the safety has turned in to one of the best all-around players at his position in the NFL. In those four seasons he had 308 tackles, 18 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and two sacks.
If the two sides do not come to an agreement within the next week, the Bills will have another 13 days to either negotiate a one-year deal or for Byrd to sign his franchise tag tender in order to get the safety in to training camp on time.
The Bills start camp at St. John Fisher College on July 28. Keep checking back to WGR550.com for all the latest on the Jairus Byrd situation.