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Don't expect Jairus Byrd, agent to give Bills any breaks

By Tim Graham

Let's not panic. We're only in April. Training camp is three and a half months away.

And if Jairus Byrd misses some voluntary workouts -- or even mandatory minicamp practices in June -- the Buffalo Bills' world won't spin off its axis. The guy's a two-time Pro Bowler entering his fifth NFL season.

Neither he nor the team will suffer.

Then again, don't assume everything will be just peachy. reporter Ian Rapoport wrote Sunday night Byrd will not attend the Bills' voluntary workouts this week absent a long-term deal. The Bills used their franchise tag on Byrd, but he wants security and won't risk injury without a contract.

Again, the process is in its nascent stages. But this also could be an early step on a drawn-out saga.

Byrd's agent is Eugene Parker, and that guy doesn't fool around.

Parker, you may recall, represents former Bills tackle Jason Peters.

Although Peters still had two years left on a previously restructured contract, dissatisfaction and Parker's refusal to bend on what he felt his star client was worth forced the Bills to trade Peters in April 2009 to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles then gave Peters a six-year contract worth about $60.6 million.

Of the eight players who were given the franchise tag this year, only Byrd and Denver Broncos tackle Ryan Clady have not signed.

The franchise tag for safeties is a guaranteed one-year contract of $6.916 million if Byrd opts to accept it. But why would he? Free-agent safety Dashon Goldson signed a four-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth a reported $41.25 million with $22 million in guarantees.

Peters also was coming off his second Pro Bowl season at the time. Since the trade he has been chosen for three more Pro Bowls and has been voted All-Pro. The draft picks the Bills received for Peters became center Eric Wood, tight end Shawn Nelson and linebacker Danny Batten.

I suppose you can argue whether the Bills won that trade because fans came to loathe Peters -- mainly because of the way Parker manipulated the situation with holdouts and threats -- and Wood is a fan favorite.

But you must agree Parker did everything he could for his client and without fear of public opinion.

That's something to consider with Byrd's contract situation moving forward.


Dashon Goldson | Eric Wood | Jairus Byrd | Jason Peters
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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 |