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.
tagged2013 free agency | Jairus Byrd