When Mike Pettine left the Bills to become head coach of the Browns, Bills safety Jairus Byrd kept his thoughts to himself outside of saying that Pettine put defensive players in position to make plays.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Pettine may be interested in putting Byrd in position to make plays for Cleveland. Byrd can become a free agent next month and Rapoport reports there’s a real possibility that the Browns pursue Byrd as someone who can both make plays and help Pettine teach his defense to the rest of the Browns. If that happened, the Browns would be expected to let T.J. Ward go as a free agent.
The Bills could make such plans moot if they use the franchise tag on Byrd. That would put them on the hook for a salary of $8.299 million and it’s an option that General Manager Doug Whaley said is on the table ahead of a Saturday meeting with Byrd’s representatives.
“In that situation, you’re going to use every option open,” Whaley said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “We don’t want to put ourselves in a corner, and I don’t want to say to you guys, ‘We’re going to do this,’ and then something changes and we don’t something different. Then you guys look at me different when you ask me a question. We as an organization, again, we’re going to leave every option open for Jairus because we would like him back.”
The Bills could tag Byrd and then try to trade him to the Browns or another suitor, which would allow them to avoid letting Byrd go without immediate compensation. The deadline for using the franchise tag is March 3, so there’s still some time for Whaley and the Bills to chew on that and all the other options available to them.