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Analyst: Jairus Byrd safest free agent in NFL's 2013 class

By Tim Graham

Beware of wide receivers on the open market, and lock up Jairus Byrd.

That was the message Buffalo Bills fans should take away from an NFL Network segment about the riskiest and safest free agents.

Although split on New England Patriots slot receiver Wes Welker's outlook, NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Charley Casserly are weary of spending money on veteran receivers. The Bills need help there.

When it came to the most prudent candidate from the entire 2013 class, Jeremiah pointed to Byrd.

"I think he might be the best free safety in all of football," Jeremiah said. "He gives you interceptions, gives you forced fumbles, plays the run, plays the pass. I don't envision Buffalo allowing him to get out of town."

Safeties are, well, safe when it comes to a free-agency investment. They play an inexpensive position compared to others. If the Bills can't get Byrd re-signed to a long-term deal, then they have the option to guarantee his return for one year by placing the franchise tag on him.

The projected franchise figure (average of the five highest-paid players) for safeties is about $6.8 million. Only tight ends at about $5.9 million and kickers at about $2.9 million come cheaper.

Byrd went to his second Pro Bowl last season with 76 tackles, including five for losses. He led the Bills with five interceptions and four forced fumbles. He recovered two.


2013 free agency | Jairus Byrd
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |