Bills FS Jairus Byrd exploded onto the scene as a rookie with nine interceptions in 2009. Don't be fooled by the fact that he hasn't come close to that number — his play has continued to improve, and he is making a strong case for a big contract.
Byrd, who has started 51-of-56 career games in which he has played, made a highlight-reel diving interception on Thursday night late in the fourth quarter, ending a Miami drive and helping the Bills hold on for a 19-14 win. Byrd has a team-high four interceptions to go along with a team-best three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
The Bills have done a good job of locking up their key players over the past year, re-signing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, DT Kyle Williams, WR Stevie Johnson and RB Fred Jackson. In addition to Byrd, starting OGs Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik are in contract years. In June, GM Buddy Nix said that the Bills “definitely want those guys back,” and Byrd’s play in the back end is deserving of being the Bills’ top priority.
Though he lacks speed, Byrd is very instinctive and the Bills’ back seven lacks playmakers. In the passing league the NFL has become, teams are always seeking ball-hawking safeties like Byrd, and the Bills are fortunate to have one. Now they have to find a way to keep him.