The Buffalo Bills have 12 free agents set to hit the market this offseason. But there's really only one name anyone is concerned with.
Safety Jairus Byrd played 2013 under a franchise tag deal that paid him $6.9 million. He earned a Pro Bowl spot by leading the team with four interceptions, which will likely only add to his value gong forward.
General manager Doug Whaley said every effort will be made to keep Byrd from flying the coop:
"We’ve had a conversation, myself and Russ (Brandon, team president), sat and talked to Jairus, and we’re going to make an offer to the guy, and we’re going to try to keep him. We’re going to try to the best of our abilities because we’re in the business of collecting good players, and he’s a good player."
Whaley said the team might franchise Byrd again, which would compel him to stay for at least one more season. Judging by Byrd's Twitter comments, that may be the only way he stays:
"I'm so thankful that I had the privilege to play with this secondary and be coached by Donnie Henderson. Blessed. I also appreciate you fans. You all have been great during my time here."
But Byrd is not the only free agent-in-waiting. Tight end Scott Chandler is also set to his the open market. The 28-year-old accumulated a team-leading 53 catches for 655 yards while finishing up a two-year, $5.45 million deal in 2013.
"I feel we've gotten good production. I think that Scott Chandler had a fine year. He really did," coach Doug Marrone said.
So did Dan Carpenter, who wasn't even supposed to be on the roster as a place kicker when the season began. Rookie Dustin Hopkins beat out Rian Lindell in training camp, but an injury in the days leading to the season opener opened the door for Carpenter. He made 33 of 36 field goals with a long of 55 yards and hit all 32 extra point attempts he tried.
"Russ and I talked to him and we’re going to reach out to his agents pretty soon and see if we can try to get something done," Whaley said.
A play will also be made to keep veteran punter Brian Moorman. He was cut partway into 2012 but was re-signed prior to Week Seven this season after the Bills cut the ineffective Shawn Powell. Moorman averaged 41.2 yards per kick with four touchbacks and 16 kicks inside the 20. He made $391,765 in 2013, while Carpenter made $555,000.
The Bills' other free agents are as follows and their 2013 cap hits:
- LB Arthur Moats, $1.32 million
- DE Alex Carrington, $846,000
- T Thomas Welch, $630,000
- S Jim Leonhard, $555,000
- RB Frank Summers, $480,000
- WR Chris Hogan, $405,000
- TE Mike Caussin, $358,000
- G Antoine McClain, $285,882
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