Monday, April 15, 2013

Jairus Byrd to skip start of Bills' voluntary workouts


The Buffalo Bills may have avoided losing safety Jairus Byrd to free agency.

His absence from voluntary workouts, however, seems unavoidable.

Ian Rapoport of reported late last night that the team's two-time Pro Bowler has yet to sign his one-year contract via the Bills' franchise tag, and that the 26-year-old will likely skip the team's workouts that begin Tuesday. (photo: LostBob, Flickr)

Rapoport noted that Byrd's stance is centered around his desire for a long-term deal to be inked, and it's still unclear whether this will drag on into June's mandatory workouts or is strictly a statement-making move by one of the team's star players.

Byrd is one of only two franchise-tagged players that hasn't signed his contract, with Denver Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady expected to sign his if a long-term deal can't be reached.

Tim Graham of the Buffalo News wrote Monday that Byrd's holdout is understandable given fellow safety Dashon Goldson's new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (four years, $41 million). Graham also pointed out that Byrd's agent, Eugene Parker, is a force to be reckoned with in terms of contract negotiations and has a history in Buffalo with former tackle Jason Peters.

There's no reason to think that this could turn into an epic Darrelle Revis or Wes Welker-type contract battle, unless of course general manager Buddy Nix turns bitter over Byrd's holdout. Byrd has been a top-tier defensive back for four years now with minimal compensation, and the Bills would be crazy to not lock him down for an extended period of time.

This discussion may come down to just when Nix wants to negotiate the deal and not if he will. Buffalo still has plenty of cap room to get a deal done (depending on the terms), though Nix obviously still has some work to do on the offensive side of the ball.

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