Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd continues to make big plays in the final year of his rookie contract, and GM Buddy Nix has noticed.
The Buffalo Bills are still in the midst of attempting a late-season push towards the playoffs, but that hasn't stopped talk about impending free agents and their potential departures, particularly since those impending free agents are all playing very well at the moment. Jairus Byrd - he of 50 tackles, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries through 10 games this season - sits atop that list of players.
Bills GM Buddy Nix was asked Friday morning on WGR 550's The Howard Simon Show whether or not the team had been talking to Byrd's representation about a new deal following his big performance in last Thursday's 19-14 win over the Miami Dolphins. Unsurprisingly, Nix avoided the topic as best he could.
"I'm not going to get into that during the year here," Nix said. "We do our work. We've got guys that work on things like that every day, so when there's something to announce, we will."
Despite his verbal dance routine, when Nix talked about what Byrd brings to the team - and how he stacks up amongst the NFL's elite safeties - the GM made it very clear that the team thinks very highly of the fourth-year safety.
"I don't know how he ranks with everybody else, but I know he's not one we'd want to swap for somebody else," Nix said. "He is a reckless guy, he's smart, he knows football. He is, again, a guy that was raised in a football family - he's been around it all his life, he knows how it works. You look back at the games we've won that were close, he's come through with a big play for us. That's what you've got to have back there. We knew from his rookie year he was capable of that, and he's started doing it on a consistent basis. I think he ranks really high, and he's a really good one for us."
Byrd, who just turned 26 this past October 7, has established himself as one of the NFL's best defensive backs, and is only just entering the prime of his career. The former second-round draft pick out of Oregon will almost certainly be one of the most coveted free agents next spring if the Bills can't get him under contract before he hits the open market; as such, Byrd is expected to be one of the team's biggest priorities when their season comes to an end.