Byrd is one Buffalo’s few franchise building blocks. Players like Byrd, tailback C.J. Spiller, receiver Steve Johnson and possibly defensive end Mario Williams (if he plays to his potential) provide Buffalo a foundation of players to build around. The Bills couldn't afford to lose any of those key players.
Byrd, who made the Pro Bowl this past season, is Buffalo’s most consistent defensive playmaker. He has recorded 18 interceptions and 10 forced fumbles in his four-year career. He’s also durable, missing just two games in his career.
Buffalo cut its other starting safety, George Wilson, earlier this offseason. Losing Byrd would have been devastating to the Bills’ secondary.
The Bills are wise to protect their investment. Byrd might not be happy with the tag, but it doesn't mean the Bills won't continue to negotiate a long-term extension this offseason.
But the franchise tag promises Byrd will be a Bill one way or another in 2013. That is great news for Buffalo fans.