"We will have some discussions later on this week with his camp, but there have been conversations with his camp before we got here," Whaley said on Friday (via WGR 550).
The news comes as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com fires up the rumor mill, tweeting that he's hearing that the Cleveland Browns and their new head coach, Mike Pettine, are interested in bringing Byrd to Ohio.
Hear the possibility of reunion between #Browns coach Mike Pettine and S Jairus Byrd is real. Bills could complicate with a tag & trade tho— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2014
Browns would get a playmaker in Jairus Byrd, while Pettine gets someone who could teach their defense to teammates. Would mean Ward walks— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2014
Whaley told reporters on Friday that the franchise tag option is still in play in the Bills' negotiations with Byrd, which Rapoport correctly points out could complicate (or render irrelevant) Pettine's wishes.
"We’re going to leave every option open for Jairus, because we would like to have him back," Whaley said Friday.
The Bills met with Byrd's agent, Eugene Parker, last year in Indianapolis as well, and those discussions were part of the process that yielded a contract standoff last summer. Parker also represents free agent defensive lineman Alex Carrington, and Whaley said that the team will discuss a potential contract for him on Saturday, as well.