Jairus Byrd part of Bills free agent plan


The Bills are busy scouting prospects at the Senior Bowl, but before they headed south to Mobile, GM Doug Whaley and the personnel department put their free agency plan together, which includes trying to bring Jairus Byrd back into the fold.

Whaley indicated at season's end that it was their intention to try and re-sign Byrd after they were unable to agree on a long term contract last offseason and the Pro Bowl safety was forced to play under the franchise tag in 2013.

Now that negotiations can start anew, Whaley told Buffalobills.com that an offer for Byrd will be sent out very soon knowing free agency opens less than two months.

"We just finished putting the map out on our plan for the offseason right before we came down here," Whaley said. "(Senior Vice President of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf is getting some paperwork together and we're going to send out some offers to our free agents and go from there."

Byrd, who is in Hawaii at the Pro Bowl this week spoke of plans to bring all of his fellow defensive backs on the Bills with him and possibly secondary coach Donnie Henderson, if he could get away. Whaley hopes Byrd sees his relationship with his teammates and position coach as reasons to re-sign with Buffalo.

"Everything we heard is he really enjoyed coach Henderson and he loves his teammates and I think he likes the defensive scheme that coach Pettine employs so all those are positives and hopefully we can use that in our negotiation," Whaley said.

Whaley confirmed that there was never any bad blood between the two sides even when negotiations on a long term agreement last summer could not reach a successful conclusion.

"He's a professional and we both tried to make sure that both sides know it's nothing personal," Whaley said. "It's just business."

Among Buffalo's other notable free agents, kicker Dan Carpenter, defensive lineman Alex Carrington, tight end Scott Chandler and veteran safety Jim Leonhard. Whaley indicated that they have set a ranked checklist for their own free agents that they want to keep in the fold.

"We set our priority of our guys we want to have back and the value we want to have them back at," he said. "We will not be able to get everybody. With this system with the salary cap you're not going to sign everybody, but you want to start at the top and have a priority list and go down from there."

Whaley would not reveal the players at the top of their list, but it's fair to say a three-time Pro Bowl safety is presumably at the top. Buffalo's general manager said he does not see the Bills being prohibited by lack of cap space.

"We won't be able to do everything, but going down our priority checklist we hope to get most of everything done that we need to get done," he said.

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