Jeremy White and Joe Buscaglia are both reporting that the Bills are unlikely to use the tag on Byrd - and that they're also unlikely to reach a long-term contract extension with him prior to the tag deadline and the start of free agency. That would mean, of course, that the Bills would be willingly allowing Byrd to hit unrestricted free agency.
On the surface, that's bad business, letting one of your best players leave without securing any sort of compensation in return. Buscaglia notes that the Bills explored trade options with Byrd, and also aggressively tried to sign him long-term, but nothing came of those efforts.
I'm hearing the #Bills explored all their options including a trade of Byrd and now they're unlikely to tag him.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) March 2, 2014
The offer to Byrd was explained to me as "substantial." The #Bills made a big effort to sign him long-term from what I'm told.— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) March 2, 2014
A Doug Marrone quote seems pertinent here, however: "Don't confuse effort with results."
Tagging Byrd would cost the Bills $8.433 million this year; their offer to him must have exceeded that, and he will almost certainly be paid more than that once he hits the open market.
If the report is true, and 4PM ET passes tomorrow without a long-term deal in place for Byrd and without the Bills having applied the franchise tag on him, it simply will look very bad for an organization that typically only makes its pleasant headlines in the winter months.