Last night I wrote down a rough draft outlining the potentiality of Byrd's departure from the Buffalo Bills. After reading this morning's article discussing the extension of Aaron Williams through the 2018 season, the word potentiality can be removed with confidence. The Williams' extension is the key piece of evidence that there is no way the Bills' front office resigns Byrd considering how much he wants. So, in respect to the title of this posting I will elaborate.
1. After listening to a interview of Doug Whaley (http://audio.wgr550.com/a/88236494/3-4-bills-general-manager-doug-whaley-joins-the-howard-simon-show.htm) and reading Joe Buscaglia's article (http://www.wgr550.com/10-Bills-takeaways-from-the-2014-NFL-Combine/18464850article) from his time at the Combine, I knew that there was no way that the Bills would pay lucrative contracts to both Jairus Byrd and Williams. The front office had to make a tough decision on which one to keep. Initially their decision, as it appears, was to sign Byrd long-term; but when he decided to refuse their large offer Williams was the next best move.
2. I personally like Aaron Williams. He is not the ball-hawk that Byrd is, yet; but I feel that this past year he has shown why Buddy Nix drafted him in the second round three years ago. He has the coverage skills to play up at the line scrimmage and plays the run extremely well. In Jim Schwartz's scheme he usually deploys a Cover 2 formation. Williams should fare well considering he won't be out there in center field by himself all the time like Pettine's system asked Byrd to do. Although, Williams can be asked to cover the same ground with efficacy. Also, Williams is a better run stopper than Byrd was and that is where Marrone wanted to improve the defense the most. When Williams did have to fill-in for Byrd he played consistently well while learning on the fly. There will be a drop off from Byrd to Aaron Williams, that I am sure of; but will it be enough to see a significant, season-changing result difference? I am not so sure.
3. Am I upset that Byrd is playing hardball and testing the free agency waters? No. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. I loved the fact that he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise mediocre list of squads the past five years. However, I can't say that I blame him for being difficult. Anyone reading this would be doing the same thing. If the difference between the value of the contract being offered by the Bills and one from another organization is substantial (and when I say substantial, I mean in the millions), then he needs to do what is best for his himself and his family. We all do it but ours does not involve millions or our negotiations don't make the press.
4. If Byrd truly wanted to be a member of the Bills' organization for the long haul, he would advise his agent to find a way to compromise and create a deal. The Bills' front office has met Byrd and Parker (his agent) halfway; the rest is up to Byrd's camp. Plus, his eventual departure hopefully rids the locker room of the tension the drama created by his holdouts and demands (as I am thinking it does). As well as the chemistry is disrupts by him not practicing with his teammates in the offseason. Marrone experienced a similar scenario when he first arrived at Syracuse as their head coach. There were players recruited from the previous regime who did not like Marrone's ostensibly no-bologna style. They didn't want to be there and Marrone gave them the option to leave if they didn't want to adapt to his attempt to remake the culture there. The results were that Marrone was able to create a family atmosphere which led to success. The same could be said in Buffalo. Byrd apparently wants out. Fine. His departure allows others to grow and hopefully fill-in his shoes. Marrone has a history of bringing out the best in his players; I think Marrone could motivate those who honestly want to be a member of the Bills' family.
5. The impression or myth that One Bills Drive do not pay its players can be put to rest as far as I am concerned. In the past few seasons, OBD has resigned/extended personnel like Kyle Williams, Freddy Jackson and Eric Wood. These are players that truly make a tangible impact on the field and locker room. They are team first and were willing to work out a deal with the management department of the organization. Other evidence to disprove the myth of the Bills' being cheap still is the free agent signings of Mario Williams and Manny Lawson. So, to use the argument that the Buffalo Bills like to operate on the cheap, there is no better proof that they don't by reiterating what was just mentioned in this past paragraph.
Summary. As a fan of the Buffalo Bills, I can say without a doubt, that I will miss Jairus Byrd a lot!! His experience and abilities will be sorely missed around the defensive backfield, but the Bills' will move on quickly from this. Heck!! Even when Byrd was at his best, a 6-10 record was the pinnacle of his time in Buffalo. I believe more can be served by using the money they were going to dish out to him and utilizing it on a bevy of solid contributors whose contracts would add up to just Byrd's contract alone. I believe in the coaching staff and Doug Whaley to provide the pieces that will allow the team to continue to grow and improve in the years to come.