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NFL Franchise Tag Deadline Is March 4; Buffalo Bills On The Clock

The Buffalo Bills are now within a two-week window with which they can negotiate with impending free agents Jairus Byrd and Andy Levitre to try to sign each to long-term deals and avoid using the franchise tag.


Back on April 25, 2009, the Buffalo Bills drafted free safety Jairus Byrd (No. 42 overall) and left guard Andy Levitre (No. 51 overall) within 40 minutes of one another. In the four seasons since, Byrd has two Pro Bowls and a second-team All-Pro to his name, while Levitre has made 64 consecutive starts. Both are arguably the best players available as free agents at their respective positions this off-season, and both are players that the Bills should be eager to re-sign.

NFL teams can begin using the franchise tag today, and will have that option before a deadline expires two weeks from now on March 4. That means that the Bills have two weeks to negotiate with their top two free agents in an effort to reach a long-term deal with each and avoid the need to use the tag at all.

For the sake of argument, however, let's assume that the Bills can't agree to terms with either player on a long-term deal within that two-week window (which, quite frankly, is a very distinct possibility). Legitimate arguments can be made for keeping either player with the franchise tag, and while one player has long been assumed the front-runner in that race (Byrd), we're interested in quantifying and fleshing out the argument.

Therefore, your poll is below: would you franchise Byrd, Levitre or neither? The comments section is now open for business.