The Bills should be much improved on defense in 2013 (Mike Pettine's squad managed to flummox the Vikings in the preseason this weekend) and they got very good news on that front Tuesday as safety Jairus Byrd ended his holdout and signed his franchise tender.
The team announced the news around 9:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday night and it apparently comes as quite the surprise -- Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reports the Bills weren't expecting Byrd to end his holdout and show up to sign his tender.
In fact, Bills GM Doug Whaley said earlier Tuesday he had "nothing new to report."
"Unfortunately, nothing new to report," Whaley said. "We hope he gets in here before the season opener but only he can tell us on that one."
So clearly Buffalo didn't see it coming, right?
Byrd's tender will pay him a one-year, guaranteed contract worth $6.916 million for 2013, a far cry from the "highest-paid-safety-in-the-league" money that Byrd wanted earlier this offseason.
The safety was one of the players least happy with the franchise tag this offseason and never showed any indication that he'd come into camp on time. He didn't and Byrd ending his holdout now is a little surprising too.
There was some speculation that Byrd would receive a guarantee he wouldn't be tagged next year in exchange for signing his deal, but Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports Byrd didn't get that language built into his contract.
Byrd made the Pro Bowl in 2012 after recording five interceptions, 76 tackles, six pass deflections and four forced fumbles. He's the final remaining franchise-tag player to sign his deal.