Jarius Byrd, Bills can't reach new contract prior to franchise tag deadline

Rick Stewart

The Bills' star free safety will play under a one-year deal, despite the Bills' best efforts.

Jairus Byrd is still a member of the Buffalo Bills, at least for now. General manager Doug Whaley released a statement today saying the front office tried to work out a long-term deal, but would move forward concentrating on the team's training camp.

While today's statement isn't definitive that Byrd will leave the team, it lacks optimism that a long-term deal can be reached. Byrd has been one of the Bills' most reliable defenders since entering the league in 2009, and is coming off a 79-tackle season that saw the free safety intercept five passes and force four fumbles.

Byrd was named to his second All-Pro team in 2012, an accolade he was also given in 2009. He led the AFC in interceptions last season, and was fourth on the team in total tackles last year.

It's reported that Byrd wants to become one of the league's highest paid safeties. In order to reach this status Buffalo would need to come close to the 5-year, $40 million deal the San Diego Chargers signed Eric Weddle to in 2011. While it's clear he's worth the money, it remains to be seen whether the Bills front office want to tie up that much money in their free safety spot.

More from SB Nation:

Ryan Clady signs 5-year deal with Broncos

No progress on Jairus Byrd, Bills talks

Victor Cruz apologizes for George Zimmerman tweet

Ndamukong Suh: Missing playoffs would be "absolute disappointment"

Photo: Maurkice Pouncey wears "Free Hernandez" hat

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