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Bills sign estranged safety Jairus Byrd to franchise tender

By Tim Graham

PITTSFORD -- I guess that escalated quickly.

Nine hours after Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley said there was "Unfortunately, nothing new to report" on Jairus Byrd's contract situation and the club hoped the two-time Pro Bowl safety would be signed before opening day, the Bills announced they signed Byrd to a one-year contract.

A statement from the Bills said they signed Byrd to his franchise tender. That would be a one-year deal guaranteed at $6.916 million.

The Bills could sign Byrd only to a one-year contract because they failed to reach a multiyear agreement before the July 15 for franchise-tagged players to do so.

Byrd is coming off a fantastic season in which he led the Bills with five interceptions and four forced fumbles. He tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries.

He finished fourth in tackles with 76, making him the team's top-returning tackler. The first three -- linebacker Nick Barnett, safety George Wilson and linebacker Kelvin Sheppard -- are gone.

Whaley commented earlier today on what Byrd was missing while the Bills continued to learn new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's system.

"A lot of it's just installation and the mental part of it," Whaley said. "It's a new system. It's an intricate system, and safeties do make a lot of calls. So he's missed that and a lot of just the tempo of practice.

"So he's going to have some ground to make up, but he's a professional. I know he'll come in here ready to work and try to contribute as soon as possible."

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Doug Whaley | 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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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