Free safety Jairus Byrd and left guard Andy Levitre were both second-round picks of the Bills in the 2009 NFL draft. Each is regarded as one of the top players at his respective position, and both become unrestricted free agents in March.
Byrd has been an absolute stud for the Bills’ secondary, racking up 308 tackles, intercepting 18 passes, forcing 10 fumbles, and defending 27 passes in his four years with the team. He’s been named to two Pro Bowls as well.
Looking at the parameters for the contract that San Diego Chargers’ safety Eric Weddle signed in 2012 for $40 million over five years, it’s likely that 26-year-old Byrd will garner roughly the same deal on the open market.
Levitre is one of the top pass-blocking guards in the NFL, and according to ProFootballFocus, he’s only allowed nine sacks in 2,043 pass blocking snaps over his four seasons with the Bills. Levitre is also 26 and should command quite a deal in free agency.
Taking a look at the contracts of Carl Nicks, Davin Joseph, Chris Snee, Logan Mankins, and Jahri Evans, a top guard can expect to earn roughly $49.6 million over approximately six years. While it's clear that Levitre is one of the league's top guards, it will be interesting to see if the Bills decide to hand out not one but two big contracts in a single offseason, especially when the team has 16 other impending free agents to decide upon.
Using the franchise tag on Byrd is a realistic option, as the number for safeties during the 2013 season is reportedly $6.798 million. However, as the franchise tag is grouped for tackles, guards, and centers, using the tag on Levitre would cost the team $9.66 million.