(WGR 550) -- Making the Pro Bowl two out of his first four years, there's little doubt that free safety Jairus Byrd is one of the premiere talents on the Buffalo Bills roster. Much to the dismay of most fans, however, it appears as though the contract process will be a lengthy one that will likely extend in to next off-season, barring any sort of sign and trade scenarios.
In early March the Bills elected to designate Byrd as the franchise player, which commits a fully guaranteed $6.916 million if he were to sign. The problem though is the franchise tag sets a deadline for when a long-term contract can be agreed upon between the player and club, and it just so happens that the deadline is Monday, July 15.
Talking with some people around the league, it doesn't appear to be all that promising.
"I would be completely and utterly shocked if there was a deal done by Monday," said one league source familiar with the team. "There are no talks going on. Someone would have to seriously cave."
The league source also brought up how fierce of a negotiator Byrd's agent Eugene Parker is, and summarized that they didn't expect Parker to be the one to budge.
"The reason why Byrd is getting tagged is for the simple fact that they just can't get a deal done," said another league source. "From what I understand, they're pushing for numbers in and around what Eric Weddle is at and also keeping the Dashon Goldson deal in to perspective as well."
Weddle signed a five-year contract with San Diego in 2011 worth a total of $40 million, with $19 million in guaranteed money. Goldson signed a similar deal, inking a five-year contract with Tampa Bay worth $41.25 million, with $22 million guaranteed.
There could be further reason than just the money for the current divide between the two sides. Where the Bills are as a franchise at this point and the position Byrd plays isn't exactly conducive to striking a deal by Monday.
"I don't think, in my opinion, Buffalo values that position enough to pay at that level," said the second league source. "Byrd is a good player. He definitely deserves to get paid at the top of the market. I just don't think Buffalo is willing to cave to the demands that Eugene is making. That's really what it's boiling down to, and that's why he didn't get the extension they could have easily afforded to pay."
The first source indicated they had been hearing similar things about Goldson's name being brought up as well as the Bills' thoughts on the safety position. The source also added that the Bills aren't sure if Byrd will have the same impact within the confines of new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and his scheme, hence the hesitation to sign him long-term.
"They'll get him to play at a franchise level this year and see how he performs in the new defense," the source said.
"If you're Buffalo, why wouldn't you? The only real answer is they just don't value the position at that level enough to justify the dollars spent," added the second source. "If you just look at the dynamic of, within the facility the evaluation of the player, how does the player value playing for that organization or in that city and then what the value the agent is placing upon the player, is forcing down the throat of the team. That's why deals don't get done."
After Monday, July 15 at 4 pm, the next real deadline is after Week 10 of the season. If Byrd were to hold out through the first ten weeks of the season, he would then be forced to sign his franchise tag tender to gain an accrued NFL season.
With or without Byrd, the Bills begin training camp on Sunday, July 28 at St. John Fisher College.