Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley appeared on The John Murphy Show on Friday evening at the outset of Bills training camp. During his appearance, the titular host asked Whaley several questions about the pending camp absence of franchise tagged free safety Jairus Byrd.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Jairus as a person, and especially as a player," Whaley told Murphy. "Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a long-term deal done with him before the July 15 deadline, so unfortunately right now, all we can do is play on the one-year franchise tag. Whenever he decides to come in - hopefully it's soon - we're going to welcome him with open arms, and then we'll go from there."
The Bills are still waiting to see if Byrd shows up for camp this weekend, according to Whaley.
"We're hoping," Whaley said. "We don't know; that's in Jairus' court. Like I said, we're going to focus right now on the people that are here (and) getting this team ready, and whenever he decides to come in, we'll accept him."
Speaking more about the negotiations (or lack thereof) than he has before, Whaley admitted that the value that the team has placed on Byrd isn't as high as the value that Byrd and agent Eugene Parker have set for themselves.
"That's just part of the business - it's the business side of football. Unfortunately, sometimes things don't work out the way you want to," Whaley said. "It's his right to hold out, and it's our right to use the franchise tag. Sooner or later, this thing will come to a head and we'll get it resolved.
"We like to put a value on a player, and every team puts a value on a player. He has a value that he thinks he is," Whaley continued. "We're trying to come to a medium right there and get this deal done. We haven't been able to do that yet, but we still have some time because we've got this year with him, and then after this year we're going to again come to the table and try to work out a long-term deal."
Of course, when and if Byrd does report for duty, it's likely that he'll have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to learning the new defensive system being installed by coordinator Mike Pettine and his staff. Whaley, for one, does not seem concerned that Byrd will get up to speed quickly if he does miss practice time.
"I think with his ability, he will be behind the eight-ball a little bit just because it's a new system," Whaley opined. "But I think a player of his quality - and he's a consummate pro - we believe he'll come in in shape and he'll take some time to learn the system, but I think with his ability he'll be fine."