Monday, March 3, 2014

Whaley on Byrd: 'With cap, you can't keep everybody'


Bye, bye Byrd.

The deadline to utilize the franchise tag came and went Monday, with the Buffalo Bills deciding not to pull the trigger on any of their unrestricted free agents. That includes three-time Pro Bowler Jairus Byrd, who's now likely hit the open market at the end of the week, the official start of the free agency period.

Based on the official release from general manager Doug Whaley Monday just prior to the 4 p.m. deadline, it seems clear that the team has grown tired of trying to negotiate a long-term deal with Byrd.

That sentiment was even more apparent during his ensuing press conference (via WGR 550), where the Bills' GM repeatedly stated that the team made every effort to work something out with the 27-year-old.

"I know the fans are going to say, 'Why didn't we get something for him?' This system is not set up where you can sign everybody," Whaley said. "We've done a great job of signing guys that we had. Look at Leodis McKelvin, Eric Wood last year, Freddy Jackson, (Keith) Urbik. So we do put an emphasis on signing and keeping our players.

"With the salary cap system and the way the NFL is, you can't keep everybody."

Byrd is likely to garner upwards of $10 million a year for his services in free agency, a number that was thrown out repeatedly the past week or so as the Bills' offer. He will join fellow safeties T.J. Ward and Donte Whitner on the market, who were each were passed up by their respective teams for the tag, as well. Titans safety Bernard Pollard signed a deal to return to Tennessee hours before the Monday deadline.

The move by Buffalo to pocket the tag also means that kicker Dan Carpenter will not receive it either, a route the New York Jets went down to shore up their leg, Nick Folk, late last week. Carpenter, given his production last season, was a viable No. 2 in Buffalo for the tag.

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