Nov 6, 2011; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills free safetyJairus Byrd
(31) intercepts a New York Jets quarterbackMark Sanchez
(6) pass in the end zone during the first quarter at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
The final NFL deadline is today, and it involves seven NFL teams who used the franchise tag this offseason. They have until 4 p.m. EST to work out a long-term deal with the players they used the tag on, or else they’ll play out the entire 2013 season on a 1-year deal, only to become a free agent again in the 2014 offseason.
Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd, Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks, Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert, Indianapolis Colts punter/kicker Pat McAfee, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson and Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton were all set to be free agent this offseason, but were subsequently hit with the franchise tag, and having been unable to work out extensions with their respective teams, they’ll likely be waiting on those deals for at least one more season.
The Bills have been the most active team in trying to extend their franchised player, as Byrd is regarded as one of the game’s best young safeties. He has 18 interceptions and over 300 tackles in his first four seasons, and his one-year tender is worth just $6.916 million, so a new deal would be beneficial to both sides.
As it stands, he’s reportedly seeking a deal similar to the five-year, $40 million contract that San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle earned in 2011. That would pay him $8 million annually, and without a new deal, he may hold out of training camp.
All other clubs have made it known they don’t plan to extend their players, and will either extend them next offseason, or let them walk in free agency.