The Bills saved some money last week by releasing former free-agent addition Dwan Edwards. It's possible that they use some of that savings to help keep around two future free agents in Andy Levitre and Jairus Byrd.
Levitre and Byrd are Buffalo's top two impending free agents heading into the 2012 season. The two were chosen nine picks apart in the second round of the 2009 draft and have flourished in the years since. Both are in line for big raises with another successful season.
Levitre, 26, has been a rock on the offensive line since entering the league. He's excelled at left guard but has also filled in capably at left tackle when called upon.
“My philosophy looking at that is I'll let that take care of itself,” Levitre said of his contract situation. “I've got to go out and do what I've been doing since I've been here and continue to work and and try and play well and that will kind of take care of itself in the end. ... It's exciting but I don't want that to distract me from the season.”
Byrd, 25, turned heads as a rookie when he tied for the league lead in interceptions with nine. His interception totals have dipped in recent years (one in 2010, three in 2011) but his all-around play has improved by leaps and bounds. He's a terrific all-around player and could be in line for a big season with a much improved pass rush in front of him.
Byrd, like Levitre, isn't too concerned about his future.
“You just go out and play,” Byrd said. “I'm really excited about just this team and what we have an opportunity to do.”
It's possible that both could command salaries that average anywhere between $5-7 million a season. The franchise tag could also be an option for one player if the Bills are unable to get deals done ahead of free agency. A tag would appear to be more likely for Byrd; the 2012 franchise tag at safety is much cheaper ($6.2 million) than along the offensive line ($9.3 million).
Either way, they're likely to become very wealthy men next March -- whether it's in Buffalo or elsewhere.
For more updates on the Bills follow correspondent Mark Ludwiczak on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLBUF and @MarkLud12.