Jairus Byrd is prepared to make himself a very rich man, even if he has to leave Buffalo to do it.
Bryd reportedly turned down a generous contract offer from the Bills, and Buffalo does not plan to give the safety the franchise tag. The Bills have until Monday to give Byrd the franchise tag. If they choose not to, they will have until March 11 to come to a long-term contract extension with their star player in the secondary.
At this point, Byrd appears likely to take his talents to the open market and try to land a big pay day. After the season he had in Buffalo, he'll probably get quite a bit of money. The contract offer Byrd rejected was reportedly in the neighborhood of $30 million over three years. Buffalo Rumblings thinks the Bills will lose all leverage they have once the franchise tag deadline passes at 4 p.m. ET on Monday:
If and when the franchise tag deadline passes (tomorrow, March 3, at 4PM ET), the Bills will still have a little over a week with which they can negotiate with Byrd in the hopes of landing a long-term deal. They're not out of the game yet -- but if that deadline passes, any shred of leverage they still have will be gone completely, and Byrd and agent Eugene Parker will likely rebuff any last-minute offers to see what Byrd can fetch on the open market.
Byrd was a second-round pick back in 2009, but has earned the right to be paid among the league's best safeties. The Bills don't appear too willing to make that happen with the franchise tag, however. In a league with plenty of teams that need safeties, Byrd won't find it too difficult to drive his price tag up during free agency.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Green Bay Packers are attempting to pay cornerback Sam Shield less than $6 million per year on his new contract. The cornerback is looking for quite a bit more than that, so this contract situation will be one to watch between now and March 11. ACME Packing Company thinks Shields is the team's only viable option for the franchise tag:
Thus, Shields has no viable competition for a tag from Ted Thompson and company, as the team can only use one tag each year. According to Overthecap.com, the franchise tag number for a cornerback will be $11,834,000, a slight increase from the previous estimate when the cap was expected to be around $126 million. If the Packers were to use the Transition Tag instead, that would pay Shields $10.08 million. Remember that in 2013, Shields played under a Restricted Free Agent offer sheet that paid him just over $2 million, so receiving either tag would increase his compensation by $8 million or more.
Former Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was in Denver meeting the Broncos on Sunday, according to Mary Kay Kabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Jackson was a cap casualty in Cleveland but still had a productive season in 2012. Denver and Tennessee are two of the front runners for Jackson at the moment. The folks over at Mile High Report don't think bringing in Jackson would be the right move:
He's not much better than the two-down players we've had, and he certainly isn't much better than Wesley Woodyard who was an experiment. In my estimation his contributions are marginal at best which means he will not be as impactful as Trevathan or Woodyard in subpackages. Yes you can leave him on the field three downs, but in reality you're left with perhaps a slightly better situation than the Broncos came in with. Is he better than Paris or Woody at Mike? Paris for sure, the production seems to indicate he and Woodyard are neck and neck.
Bears quarterback Josh McCown is not expected to be back with the team in 2014, according to Adam Schefter. On Ross Tucker's podcast, Schefter said McCown is likely to hit the open market and will have significant interest across the league. McCown filled in nicely for the injured Jay Cutler in 2013 and may get a chance to start somewhere in the near future.
McCown has accepted that he may have to go elsewhere to get a chance at a new contract, according to the Chicago Tribune:
"It's hard to want to be anywhere else," he says. "But the balance of that, too, is our reality. This is probably going to be the last time I stand in free agency with this kind of leverage. So there's an understanding of an opportunity here to gain some more resources both to take care of our family and to do more good with."