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Audio: Bills, Jairus Byrd dispute explored on Shredd and Ragan

By Tim Graham

With Shredd and Ragan this morning on 103.3 The Edge, we dissected Jairus Byrd's contract dispute with the Buffalo Bills and the influence of agent Eugene Parker.

Much of the segment (posted below for you to hear) was based on a Buffalo News feature story I wrote about Parker in June and a recent declaration from former Bills guard Ruben Brown that Parker is "a total chump."

As detailed in my story, people on both sides of the negotiating table -- Jerry Jones, Bill Parcells, Andrew Brandt, Deion Sanders and Curtis Martin among them -- disagree with Brown's assessment.

I must correct an erroneous statement made on the segment. I mistakenly said Sports Illustrated recently named Parker the fourth most influential agent in any sport. SI listed Parker sixth overall and third in the NFL.

Also explored with Shredd and Ragan were the abstract terms being reported in regard to Byrd's negotiations. Being the "highest-paid this" or among the "top three highest-paid that" is meaningless unless you know how the Bills or Parker define "highest-paid."

Highest-paid based on total dollars? Highest-paid based on average salary? Highest-paid based on guaranteed money? Highest-paid based on 2013 salary or dollars at the end of contract?

How many years are in the offer? Is the contract front-loaded, so the player gets most of his base-salary money early? Is the contract back-loaded, so the team can cut the player before they pay him some of his larger base salaries?

Just points to consider on what's sure to be a storyline that won't go away any time soon.

Why 'franchise tag' can be a filthy term for some players to hear

By Tim Graham

What's the big deal with franchise tags?

When a team uses it on a free agent, the player should be honored, right? The franchise tag is a special designation, right?

The player is guaranteed a one-year contract in a league without guaranteed contracts. He'll make an average of the five highest-paid players at his position.

What a bonanza, right?


In an enlightening story at, reporter Joe Buscaglia takes a look at how the franchise tag is interpreted by agents, players and fans. There are nuances to the process. But to many players, the franchise tag is considered an insult.

"Nobody wants to get tagged," said agent C.J. LaBoy, who represents Bills receiver Stevie Johnson and former Bills receiver Donald Jones.

Continue reading "Why 'franchise tag' can be a filthy term for some players to hear" »

Jason Peters revisited: Bills, agent say trade won't affect Jairus Byrd

By Tim Graham

There isn't a contract scoreboard in Russ Brandon's office.

Influential agent Eugene Parker might have forced the Buffalo Bills to trade left tackle Jason Peters four years ago, but that doesn't mean safety Jairus Byrd's situation will be considered a rematch.

In interviews for a Parker profile that will run in Sunday morning's Buffalo News, he and Brandon revisited the Peters contract standoff in light of Byrd's contract negotiations.

Continue reading "Jason Peters revisited: Bills, agent say trade won't affect Jairus Byrd" »


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 |