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Posted: Monday, 03 March 2014 3:02PM

Byrd avoids franchise tag from Bills

(WGR 550) -- With the deadline approaching, the Buffalo Bills and Jairus Byrd won't be traveling down the same path as they did in 2013.

According to league sources, the Bills will not be issuing the franchise tag to the safety for the second straight year. As reported on Sunday afternoon by WGR, the organization made a big effort to re-sign Byrd with a substantial offer sent his way, but ultimately the two sides could not strike a deal.

The team announced 45 minutes after this report that they would not be using the franchise tag on any of their free agents. While it looks bleak at best for the Bills and Byrd to reunite in 2014 and beyond, GM Doug Whaley didn't close the door by any means.

"Well, we'll say this, we don't negotiate through the media," he said when asked if there would be another round of contract proposals exchanged. "But we're very comfortable with the significant offer we made to those guys. Again, we'll keep the lines of communication open. And we're still open for anything that they come back with or if they come back and accept the deal. We'll be open to that as well."

According to a league source, the Bills explored all avenues, including the possibilities of trading the Pro Bowl safety, but will now allow him to reach unrestricted free agency if no deal is reached between them by March 11.

The popular sentiment amongst fans is asking why the Bills wouldn't tag him to attempt to yield a draft pick for the player? Whaley said it had nothing to do with public perception of tagging a player for a second straight year, but did remark that it takes two to tango.

"Two things. One, we didn't think it was the best option for the team for us to get better. And two, that takes another team to do it with," he said. "So we felt for the best long-term future for the Buffalo Bills was just not to tag him."

Even with the latest setback, Whaley wouldn't succumb to the feelings of disappointment or frustration just yet.

"I would say, hey, we worked hard. It's still not over yet. When it's over, then I'll let the feelings seep into the equation. But as of now it's just business, and we're trying as hard as we can to make a deal come through."

The Bills will not be using the franchise tag on any of their free agents, and said the transition tag will not be used either.

Listen to the full interview with Whaley talking about the Byrd decision below:

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

All photos courtesy of AP
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