Saturday, February 2, 2013

'Nothing concrete' with Bills' two biggest free agents


There are currently 13 unrestricted free agents on the Buffalo Bills' roster; two of those in particular will be vital to the team’s success next season.

The trick now is figuring out how to get both to return next season. (photo: LostBob, Flickr)

The players in question are Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd and left guard Andy Levitre, two that are on opposite sides of the team’s spectrum but equally important to its future.

"As far as talks are concerned, there’s nothing at this point that’s concrete,” Bills president Russ Brandon told Tim Graham of the The Buffalo News Friday. “We would love to have both guys back.

"When it comes to those decisions, (GM) Buddy (Nix) will make the final decision on how we move forward in the draft in free agency. We'll obviously work together in all that with Coach (Doug) Marrone."

Byrd was, in many minds, the most dynamic defensive back in the AFC in 2012, tallying five interceptions and forcing four fumbles. He was second on the team with 70 tackles, and many feel the team may end up using its franchise tag on him if contract negotiations go south.

Levitre, though he may not have the stats of Byrd to show, has been the lifeblood of the Buffalo offensive line. Levitre has yet to miss a game in his four years with the team, and he’s been there to fill every void the team has had on the offensive line over the years due to injury, even through his own.

Brandon told Graham that he will aid in the negotiations of the two stars if necessary, but ultimately any roster decisions come down to his general manager and coach Marrone.

"I will provide leadership to the organization within every element of our operation," Brandon said. "But no different than you hire a director of ticket operations to run the ticket department, you hire football people to run the football department.”

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