PITTSFORD, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills aren’t giving up on re-signing star safety Jairus Byrd to a long-term contract.
Team president Russ Brandon told the Associated Press on Monday that it’s his intention to take another run at reaching a multiyear deal with Byrd next off-season despite a failure to secure one this year.
Brandon called the prospects of re-signing Byrd as being “absolutely” realistic even though negotiations with the two-time Pro Bowl player have reached a stalemate.
“Obviously, our goal was to have that done by July 15. We didn’t meet that goal,” Brandon said, referring to an NFL-imposed deadline that passed to reach a multiyear deal. “But we’ll pull up our boot straps, and as soon as we can start on that again, we will.”
Under league rules, re-opening talks on a long-term deal will have to wait until this season’s over.
The more pressing concern is when — or if — Byrd intends to report to the Bills this year. Byrd remains unsigned because he has yet to accept the one-year, $6.9 million offer the Bills in designating him their franchise player in March.
The Bills applied the designation to retain Byrd’s rights and prevent the fourth-year player from becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Byrd would once again be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and the Bills would once again have the option to apply the franchise tag.
Brandon provided few updates on Byrd’s status with the Bills into their second week of training camp in suburban Rochester.
He said the two sides have “open lines of communication,” but didn’t know the last time Jim Overdorf, the team’s chief negotiator, last spoke with Byrd’s agent, Eugene Parker. And Brandon couldn’t predict when Byrd might finally report.
“I hope he walks in in 10 minutes,” Brandon said. “Our goal is to have Jairus back in camp. We can’t wait for him to get here. We’ll welcome him with open arms.”
Parker has declined comment on the status of talks and when he expects Byrd to report to the team.
Brandon said there is “absolutely zero contention” between the two sides, and noted that both are simply exercising their rights under league rules.
As for the failure to reach a long-term deal this off-season, Brandon characterized it as “two sides not completely on the same page for where we wanted to be by July 15.”