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Buffalo Bills don't franchise tag Jairus Byrd - set for free agency

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The Byrd is set to leave the Bills.

That's the news that is coming out of Buffalo today as it has emerged that the organization are not set to hand a franchise tag to safety to safety Jairus Byrd.

From the teams official website:

"(GM Doug Whaley) and the front office made every effort to secure a long term deal with the Byrd camp on the second go round after last summer’s negotiations resulted in the safety playing under the one-year franchise tag. In the end, it was clear that the two sides differed on how much the contract should be worth.

'We have negotiated with representation for Jairus Byrd for more than a year, but have yet to reach an agreement on a contract extension,' said Whaley. 'We remain open to getting a deal done with Jairus, but we have chosen not to use the franchise tag on any of our impending unrestricted free agents.”

Byrd becomes the best safety available in free agency and will have a whole host of teams chasing his services in the off-season. Other teams won't be allowed to negotiate with Byrd's agent, Eugene Parker, until March 8 and wouldn't be able to sign him until March 11.

Byrd is a three time Pro Bowler and a three time All-Pro selection. He has expressed his desire to be the top paid free safety in the NFL since last year's failed negotiations, and that hasn't changed.

From the Bills' point of view, if they were to seek a replacement for Byrd in the market then they could be looking at TJ Ward from Cleveland, 49ers man Donte Whitner and Antoine Bethea of the Colts.

In 11 games for the Bills last year, Byrd recorded 48 tackles, one for a loss, a sack, four interceptions and a forced fumble.

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