Bills may sign Jairus Byd to long-term deal; Will Use Franchise Tag if not

Rick Stewart

The Bills could be on the verge of signing Jairus Byrd to a long-term deal, but are prepared to use the franchise tag on him if necessary.

With the deadline for NFL teams ti use the franchise tag coming on Monday, one player who could get it or hit the free agent market is Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd. A three-time Pro Bowler, Byrd had four interceptions and one forced fumble in just 11 games.

The Buffalo News' Tim Graham reported Thursday night that two NFL sources told him preliminary talks on a new deal have been pleasant so far.

Byrd was hit with the franchise tag last year and was never able to come close to agreeing to a long-term deal with the Bills. It looked the only way the Bills would only be able to keep him by tagging him again, but it looks like a deal could be reached between the two sides, possible before Monday's deadline to use the franchise tag.

The Bills have until Monday to use the tag on Bryd, which would land around $8.3 million, and then have until July 15 to sign him to a long-term deal. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Bills will tag Byrd if they don't get a deal done by Monday.

While the Bengals were unlikely to pursue a big-name like Byrd in free agency, the Cleveland Browns were rumored to be seriously interested in reuniting Byrd with his former defensive coordinator in Mike Pettine.

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