Jairus Byrd has turned down what insiders say was a “substantial” offer from the Buffalo Bills, signaling that the All-Pro safety is ready to test the waters of free agency.
Contract talks between Byrd and the Bills were moving along this week and the two sides were reportedly making progress, but hit a standstill on Sunday. After Byrd rebuffed a lucrative, multiyear offer from the Buffalo Bills the talks reportedly broke down, with no new discussions scheduled.
It appears as if there was little the Buffalo Bills could do to attract Jairus Byrd back. The offer made on Sunday would have given the safety $30 million over the first three seasons, which sources close to the team say was the kind of money the team had sought.
The Bills have a tricky history with Byrd. The two were unable to make progress on contract talks last season, leading to the Bills placing the franchise tag on an unhappy Byrd.
The safety then held out through training camp, also missing the early part of the season with plantar faciitis.
The Bills have the option of placing the franchise tag on Byrd a second time, but his salary for a one-year contract would swell to $8.4 million from the $6.9 million the Bills paid him in 2013.
The Buffalo Bills now have until 4 pm on Monday to decide whether to tag Jairus Byrd and retain his rights, otherwise he will become a free agent on March 11.
Picked in the second round of the 2009 draft, Jairus Byrd has been Buffalo’s best defensive back and a main piece of an improving defense. He made nine interceptions in his rookie year — a team record for rookies — and finished the season tied for first in picks.
Last year, Jairus Byrd finished tied for the team lead with four interceptions, and added a sack and forced fumble. He also earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.