Dec 1, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Darius Johnson (13) runs after a catch as Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd (31) defends during the second half at the Rogers Center. Falcons beat the Bills 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier today, Ian Rapoport, NFL Insider, reported that the interest that the Cleveland Browns have in Jairus Byrd is the real deal.
"“…the possibility of a reunion between Browns coach Mike Pettine and the playmaking safety “is real,” according to sources familiar with the team’s thinking.”“Pettine and Byrd worked together in 2013 during Pettine’s one-year cameo as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. Adding an elite player like Byrd would strengthen Cleveland’s secondary while also giving Pettine someone who could teach his defense to Browns players.”"
The Bills may have other options to sign Byrd, one being the franchise tag, which is not the way either would want to go, but I would use this as a last resort. The Bills also have a list of priorities of free agents, both on their squad, as well as off that they plan on speaking with.
"“Russ Brandon and Jim Overdorf do a great job of meeting with all of our prospective free agents here at the Combine,” said GM Doug Whaley, who will also be part of contract talks with player agents. “Before we got here we set a priority list and set the parameters of value that we have on each of these guys and we’ll go from there and see what they think.”"
The Bills are also in talks with both Byrd and Chandler, as these guys are the bigger free agents on the team at this point.
"“We’re in conversations with the camps of both of those guys,” Whaley said. “Obviously we want to have all of our free agents back, but in this system that’s going to be hard to do. With the salary cap you can’t get everybody, but we’re in touch with every one of the agents for our prospective free agents. That goes to what are they thinking compared to what we’re thinking and hopefully we can mesh the two together and get something done.”"
What if the Bills are unable to re-sign Byrd and he happens to pursue other options with another team? Where do the Bills stand? As of right now, the Bills will have 5 safeties on their roster, Jim Leonhard being a free agent. Can the Bills survive with Williams and either Meeks, Duke Williams, or Searcy opposite Aaron? I think it is possible, but not ideal.
If Byrd goes to the Browns, they will not keep TJ Ward. Is he a replacement that the Bills could look at or what about Louis Delmas, former Lions FS, that was just released? Would he be a sufficient replacement.
I think that there is only one Byrd and it will be tough to replace him right off the bat. I believe that the Bills need to make sure that they re-sign Byrd at all cost and move forward. If they are unable, Ward or Delmas might be options but I think one of the other 4 guys on the roster could step in and be productive as a starter.
Information taken from NFL.com and Buffalobills.com