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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The next big thing: Bills

By Mike Rodak

The Buffalo Bills' season has been over for more than three weeks now.

In turning the page forward, we're asking the question: What's on the horizon for the Bills this offseason, as they begin to prepare for their second season under coach Doug Marrone?

While Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley are in Mobile, Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl, their focus will soon turn to making a decision on safety Jairus Byrd, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.

Do they assign Byrd the franchise tag for a second consecutive season? It would cost the Bills more than $8 million if Byrd signs his one-year guaranteed tender, which would be a significant hit to the salary cap. Byrd could also choose to sit out training camp before signing the tender, leaving some uncertainty at that position.

If the Bills let Byrd hit the open market, the chances of him returning seem slim. That would create a need at safety that the Bills could fill through the draft, free agency or other means.

Speaking of the draft, this is a season where it appears the Bills could go one of several directions. Do they look for offensive line help? Do they try to add an explosive weapon on offense at wide receiver or tight end? Do they continue to add to their improving defense?

Luckily, with the draft pushed back to May, we'll have plenty of time to ponder their plans in the coming months.