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Whether Bills have leverage with Byrd going forward is debatable

By Mark Gaughan

PITTSFORD -- The question of whether the Buffalo Bills have some good leverage in talks with safety Jairus Byrd going forward is a matter of perspective.

Byrd signed his one-year franchise tender offer of $6.9 million. The Bills can't work on signing him to a new deal until after the season. They could put a franchise tag on him again next season, but it would cost them $8.29 million.

That total still is good value for the Bills if one considers Byrd worthy of being paid like the top safety in the NFL. Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu holds the top average safety salary of $9.1 million. Kansas City's Eric Berry is second at $8.3 million, and Tampa's Dashon Goldson is third at $8.25 million.

However, it's not good value if one doesn't consider Byrd worthy of being paid like the top safety in the league. The fact is the Bills haven't been able to reach a deal with Byrd.

So it's reasonable to assume they do not consider him worthy of being the top-paid safety. If they did, their negotiations would have resulted in a long-term deal by July. (This is presuming Byrd would have accepted an offer to be the highest-paid safety, a presumption we're willing to make.)

Maybe the Bills would view an $8.29 million price tag as unpalatable. Whether they do or not, it would be uncomfortable for the team to go through a second offseason with no deal for Byrd and another full-camp holdout.


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 |