Jairus Byrd was slapped with the franchise tag in the offseason after his second Pro Bowl effort and would like to be rewarded with a long-term deal. Sounds like a reasonable request, but the two sides have yet to come to terms on compensation for the high-flying safety.
Byrd's situation is similar to the Jason Peters' debacle that happened prior to the 2009 season, and ironically, the two players share the same agent, Eugene Parker. Tim Graham of The Buffalo News revisited the situation and compared how similar the two could play out.
Parker admitted to Graham that Byrd would like to stay in Buffalo and get a long-term deal done sooner rather than later. However, it is going to take both sides meeting at some middle ground before that comes to fruition.
Last time we heard, during The John Murphy Show on WGR 550, Mark Kelso's comments implied that Byrd and the team were at least $2 million apart in negotiations.
Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings had an accurate assessment of the situation in his weekly mailbag segment last weekend.
Circle July 14-15 on your "when I should worry" calendar. July 15 is the deadline for franchise tagged players to sign long-term contract extensions; if the Bills and Byrd (and agent Eugene Parker, he of the infamous 2008 Jason Peters holdout) don't have a new deal worked out by then, things will get very interesting.
Byrd is free to sign the franchise tag at any point - he won't for the foreseeable future, as it's his leverage point in negotiations right now - but if there's no July 15 deal and he still refuses to sign, we'll be looking at a holdout that could last for quite a while.
The difference between now and then is approximately 45 days, but that can creep up awfully quickly if the two sides are not in constant contact. It may not officially be time to worry about Byrd's contract status, but it is getting dangerously close.