Less than four days away from the deadline to sign a long-term deal, signs continue to point to a contract impasse between free safety Jairus Byrd and the Buffalo Bills.
WGR 550's Joe Buscaglia reports this morning, citing two sources, that the Bills and agent Eugene Parker have not negotiated this week. Parker is apparently seeking a contract similar to those signed by Eric Weddle (five years, $40 million, $19 million guaranteed) and Dashon Goldson (five years, $41.25 million, $18 million guaranteed), but there are indications that the Bills may not value the safety position highly enough to shell out that kind of dough for one of the league's top safeties.
"I don't think, in my opinion, Buffalo values that position enough to pay at that level," said one of Buscaglia's sources. "Byrd is a good player. He definitely deserves to get paid at the top of the market. I just don't think Buffalo is willing to cave to the demands that Eugene is making. That's really what it's boiling down to, and that's why he didn't get the extension they could have easily afforded to pay."
There are also indications, per the report, that the Bills would like Byrd to play a year in Mike Pettine's defense at the franchise value to see how he performs in the new system.
The news on the Byrd front has been mostly pessimistic to this point in the process, and Buscaglia's report is simply the latest to state that a long-term deal is unlikely by 4PM ET on Monday afternoon. It is, however, curious and somewhat surprising to read that the Bills might not value the safety position highly - particularly when new GM Doug Whaley was a member of a Pittsburgh Steelers organization that gave Troy Polamalu a five-year, $33 million contract extension (with $15.4 million in bonuses) in 2007, after Polamalu's first four seasons in the league. That deal made Polamalu the league's highest-paid safety at the time. Check out how Byrd's first four years stack up to Polamalu's (noting that Byrd is essentially a four-year starter, while Polamalu had started for three seasons):
|Troy Polamalu ('03-'06)||304||7.0||10||3||2||2||3||1 (first team)|
|Jairus Byrd ('09-'12)||308||2.0||18||10||5||2||1||1 (second team)|
Byrd may not be as dynamic an athlete as Polamalu was at that juncture in his career, but even still, it's hard to figure how Whaley could see that Polamalu deal in 2007 and be on board with it, and not be on board with giving Byrd a deal that's only slightly more expensive on the salary and guarantee fronts - a full six years later, no less. Keeping in mind, also, that the team was highly interested in Mark Barron with a Top 10 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and that quote from Buscaglia's source is certainly an eyebrow-raiser.
Regardless, there's still a full weekend to go, and anything can happen. If this week has been any indication, however, you'd be best served not sitting by your computers waiting with bated breath on what should otherwise be a gorgeous weather weekend.