Last season it may have been more difficult to persuade safety Jairus Byrd to make any concessions in his contract talks with the Buffalo Bills. The team had a slew of rookie coaches and was heading into the season with plenty of questions all around.
This season there may be a different tone. Byrd, who missed the first five games with foot injuries, still made the Pro Bowl and tied for the team lead with four interceptions. Byrd also tallied a sack and a forced fumble.
But the defense itself was much improved all around, giving the Bills a reason to pitch to Byrd that staying in the system under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz may be the best option for his career.
Last offseason Byrd and his agent both stated that he deserved to be paid as the best safety in the game. The Bills agree that he should be paid as one of the best, but may not be willing to make the free agent the highest paid safety in the league.
However, despite how poorly last season's talks went, both sides are heading back to the table, and the Bills are looking to start over with a clean slate with Byrd.
"It's a process and there's no carryover. You start over again and you try to get something done," Bills president Russ Brandon told The Associated Press on Monday. "We just weren't able to come up with a solution that worked for both parties, so you reset it and start again."
So far, the Bills are working on a new contract offer for Byrd and have had open communication with the safety over their intentions.
"We all are hoping to get a deal done," Brandon said. "And we're going to do the exact same thing this time, work our tails off to try to get another one done."
Hopefully the Bills are able to make something happen before the team is being forced to franchise the safety for a second time, which is something the team may consider.
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