ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jairus Byrd will likely hit the free agent market, after the Buffalo Bills elected not to place the franchise tag on their Pro Bowl safety today.
The Bills had to make a decision by 4pm this afternoon. GM Doug Whaley said he made a “significant” long-term offer to Byrd, but the two sides could not reach a deal. While Whaley remains optimistic that a long-term contract could be hammered out before free agency begins next Tuesday, it appears unlikely.
“It’s part of the business,” said Whaley. “We tried to come up with a value that’s best for the Buffalo Bills and the entire team. They have a value in their mind what their player’s worth and what he is… We just haven’t been able to come and meet in the middle.”
The franchise tag would have paid Byrd more than $8.4 million for one year. He played last season under the franchise tag, but skipped all of training camp as a result, then almost immediately got hurt.
The Bills could have possibly traded Byrd, had they tagged him, but Whaley said that scenario was not as easy as it may seem.
“You got to find a trade partner… it takes two, and there’s a lot of moving parts,” said Whaley. “It wasn’t a prudent decision to use the franchise tag.”
The Bills did, however, keep three other players off the market, making contract offers to each of their three exclusive rights free agents: WR Chris Hogan, FB Frank Summers, and OL Antoine McClain.