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Bills place franchise tag on S Jairus Byrd

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

In a move that was expected, the Bills have informed safety Jairus Byrd that he will be franchised.

Byrd, a second-round pick out of Oregon in 2009, has been an impact player since his first season in the league, when he logged nine interceptions and 11 passes defended. He's added nine more picks in the last three years, and with all of the issues Buffalo has had on defense, it was unlikely that would Byrd get away.

ProFootballFocus.com recently described Byrd as undervalued, noting: "In 2011 Byrd did enough to convince us big things were in store for his future. Well, 2012 was an even bigger step forward where he put forth a season that should have earned him All-Pro honors. He finished second in our safety rankings with the highest grade of all his peers in coverage. That's what happens when you're targeted 21 times and manage to pick off five balls and not allow a single touchdown."

Byrd was woefully underpaid last season. His 2012 salary cap hit was $1.1 million, and according to PFF's metrics, his performance-based value was $8.8 million. The disparity in salary and productivity will change this season. Unless Byrd and the Bills come to terms on a multiyear deal by July 15, he'll play on a one-year, $6.9 million contract in 2013, which, incidentally, is still a bargain for Buffalo.

Earlier Friday, the Bengals franchised defensive end Michael Johnson. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora highlights the other players headed for the franchise designation.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the Pick-6 Podcast on iTunes. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

 
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