January 27, 2013; Honolulu, HI, USA; AFC free safety Jairus Byrd of the Buffalo Bills (31) runs with the ball after recovering on a fumble by NFC running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings (not pictured) while being tackled by NFC tight end Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys (82) in the first quarter during the 2013 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jairus Byrd: Let The Byrd Loose

With negotiations between Jairus Byrd and the Buffalo Bills slowly becoming the elephant in the room, I feel the need to speak my mind on the situation and “Let The Byrd Loose”.

I have to be blunt with you; Jairus Byrd is not worth $40 million. No safety is worth that much money. That being said, the Buffalo Bills will do just fine without him with Mike Pettine’s strong coaching and a healthy, explosive offense. Due to the lack of communication between the Buffalo Bills and Byrd, along with his absence from Minicamp, OTA’s and Training Camp, his future with Buffalo seems to be coming to an end.

If I were in the position of Russ Brandon and Doug Whaley, I would strongly consider signing, then trading Byrd for a handful of early picks in the 2014 NFL draft. ESPN’s Todd McShay has preached about the depth of talent in this class which the Buffalo Bills can use to their advantage by drafting a versatile and athletic linebacker/defensive end to compliment the interior defensive line, physical Cornerback to compliment Stephon Gilmore, or another offensive weapon to add to E.J.’s arsenal at wide receiver or running back.

One must also consider the looming contracts of CJ Spiller, Eric Wood, and Marcell Dareus in the next two years. If you combine these facts with Aaron Williams recent move to safety, his ball hawk ability and his ability to stop the run, it only makes sense to invest in the future of the Buffalo Bills next year rather than Jairus Byrd’s future alone. Next year will be huge for Buffalo because we have the chance to add another layer to the foundation and stability addressed by the 2013 draft. I’m sure my comments have angered some devoted Buffalo Bills fans so let the Byrd loose and please comment below.

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  • chas territo

    Here’s my take. Byrd is worth only as much as the team gives. After all, isn’t that the case always? If they can’t sign him, then yes trade his ass! You made some very valid points. I so, don’t want him gone, BUT…..? GO BILLS!!

  • knightindentedarmor

    As much as I don’t like to see the Bills lose top quality players, I agree with you in this instance.

    Is Byrd one of the top 5 safeties in the NFL? Probably. Is he likely to become an All-Pro once Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu retire? Yes, very likely. And, I know that it’s also very likely that someone will post a reply citing stats and ratings that show that Byrd was, by some measures, the best safety in the NFL last season. All good reasons to try to resign Byrd…as is the fact that the Bills do need more playmakers on defense and Byrd was one of their best playmakers the last couple of seasons.

    But, Mike Pettine and Rex Ryan put together two of the toughest defenses in the NFL in recent years in Baltimore and with the Jets with Bills castoff Jim Leonard and Eric Smith playing safety. Only last year did Pettine have a safety, Laron Landry, who comes anywhere near Byrd in the rankings of safeties in the NFL. The fact is that Pettine can put together a top flight defense with adequate safeties if he has quality playmakers at CB and in the front seven. And, the Bills do have some needs at CB and in their front seven that still need to be addressed as well as a couple of needs on offense that a prime draft pick acquired for Byrd would go a long way to help address.

    While I can’t say that Byrd wouldn’t have more of an impact in Pettine’s defense than he has had in the past, the fact remains that, in spite of Byrd’s statistical contributions, the Bills defense has been horrible the last couple of years. The plays that Byrd has made simply haven’t had the impact necessary to make the overall defense that much better.Trading Byrd and getting a ball-hawking CB or top-flight LB–either a inside LB to pair with Alonso or an athletic OLB who can rush the passer and drop in coverage well occasionally–could end up having more of an impact and allow the Bills to have an easier time re-signing Spiller, Wood and Dareus. Also, not having to use a high draft pick to address one of those needs on defense would allow the Bills to use a high pick to draft a top interior lineman or a tight end to further bolster the offense.

    If Byrd were to sign a long-term contract for the franchise number, I might have a different opinion, but for a team with the Bills’ needs it’s hard to give a safety that kind of money unless he is the kind of player who “puts the fear of God” into opposing offensive coordinators and QB on a consistent basis the way that Reed and Polamalu have (and that Bob Sanders did when he was healthy). For all of his fine stats, I just haven’t seen Byrd have that kind of impact…not consistently. So, I would even think twice about giving Byrd the franchise number over the course of a long-term contract. Given what Pettine has done without a top safety (when Reed was hurt in Baltimore), I’d take my chances with Aaron Williams and the rest of the Bills’ safeties and trade Byrd rather than give him what he is asking for at this point.

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