Byrd was the last of the franchise-tagged players to sign his tender, finally doing it on Tuesday night. It was obvious for a while this would be the outcome, but Byrd held off – he apparently surprised even the team, who said they had nothing new to report not long before Byrd signed.
So what did this holdout get Byrd? He wanted to be the highest-paid safety in the league. That didn't happen. NFL Network's Albert Breer said Byrd didn't get a provision saying he wouldn't be tagged in 2014, so he might be in the same mess next year. Maybe he got a hearty handshake from the Buffalo brass when he signed. Probably not on that one either.
Byrd did miss two preseason games, and is likely to miss at least a third, and with the way players have been getting hurt the last couple weeks, that probably wasn't the worst move.
But once the July 15 deadline for franchise players signing a multi-year deal passed, this was the only endgame for Byrd.
He got $6.916 million for signing, which isn't peanuts, but it doesn't provide any long-term stability that he wanted. NFL players play the most dangerous sport, and also the most popular sport, and have by far the worst contracts. Byrd's situation is just another example.
He did miss a lot of practice time in a new defensive scheme going into what is again a contract year.
"A lot of it's just installation and the mental part of it," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said, according to the Buffalo News. "It's a new system. It's an intricate system, and safeties do make a lot of calls. So he's missed that and a lot of just the tempo of practice.
"So he's going to have some ground to make up, but he's a professional. I know he'll come in here ready to work and try to contribute as soon as possible."
What the Bills end up getting is a very good player back for their defense, provided he doesn't let his contract displeasure or his concern about getting hurt before landing a long-term deal affect his play. It's not the ideal situation for either side, but at least it's settled for now.
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