Jairus Byrd is reportedly looking to leave the Buffalo Bills before the trade deadline.
A team interested in Byrd would have to want to both give him a big new contract and give the Bills an acceptable offer, surely a draft pick, in return. One factor that might work in Byrd’s favor is injuries. A team that loses a safety early in the year might be more inclined to pitch for Byrd.
Unfortunately for Byrd, he is dealing with his own injuries that could hamper his trade value. He is suffering from plantar fasciitis that will, according to The Buffalo News' Tim Graham, prevent him from playing this weekend against the New England Patriots.
Jairus Byrd listed as doubtful on final Week One injury report http://t.co/Mn7fB3r7KT— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) September 6, 2013
ESPN's Mike Rodak said that Byrd denied the reports of his unhappiness in Buffalo, stating, "That's for another day, another time."
Byrd on Buffalo News report of him seeking trade: "I would like to know what 'sources' they're talking about." http://t.co/vZHYKk0LiO— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 5, 2013
The 26-year-old recorded five interceptions and four forced fumbles last season, with the Bills ranked 10th in passing yards allowed.
Two weeks ago, NFL.com's Dan Hanzus reported that "ill will remains" between Byrd and the Bills after settling on a one-year solution to his contract dispute. Byrd, wanting a long-term deal, was open to a trade, and the sentiment has seemingly grown stronger.
Even if the reports are true and Byrd is longing for a change of scenery, Buffalo must keep their defensive cornerstone, at least for the time being.
It makes no sense for the Bills to shop damaged goods. Teams can dangle Byrd's injury status over Buffalo's heads, insisting that the team needs to cash out now before the youngster becomes another NFL cautionary tale.
Suitors will line up for Byrd if Buffalo places him on the trading block. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport speculated that Chip Kelly might try to bring him to Philadelphia.
Wildcard to watch for Jairus Byrd: Eagles. Chip Kelly is familiar with Byrd from Oregon, also dealt for Jason Peters in similar situation— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 5, 2013
They won't pay top dollar for Byrd, and Buffalo's defense is not exactly loaded with talent. You don't trade a young Pro-Bowler unless the situation makes it absolutely necessary.
With Byrd under contract, scraping out a draft pick is not enough to offset the risk of losing Byrd to free agency down the line.
This year's team also direly needs Byrd, as will likely be placed on full display when Tom Brady gets a swing at its depleted secondary. A shellacking this Sunday will highlight Byrd's value as the club's main ball-hawker and playmaker.
Byrd, labeled one of Grantland's most underappreciated NFL stars, is too valuable of a commodity for Buffalo to give up without a fight.