Every Christmas we see all the different renditions of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” on television. From the 1988 version “Scrooged” starring Bill Murray to “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” which came out in 2009, we are constantly reminded of how a cheap miser Ebenezer Scrooge changed his ways. To many in Buffalo, the Bills seemed to be the NFL’s version as owner Ralph Wilson realized his age was hindering his ability to run the team properly, and gave the reins to Chief Executive Officer Russ Brandon.
Well that isn’t the case now, as the Bills are still cheaper than Scrooge.
According to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, via, the Buffalo Bills don’t have any contract talks scheduled with free safety Jarius Byrd. The problem is that earlier this year the Bills slapped the franchise tag on Byrd to prevent him from hitting free agency, but it came with a huge downside.
First, it’s a one year contract that is fully guaranteed. According to a Yahoo Sports article, the franchise tag for a free safety this year is $6.916 million.
Secondly, National Football League rules state that a player with the franchise tag can only be signed to a long term contract prior to July 15th, which is only a few days away. After that he can only be signed to a one year contract.
Lastly, if the Bills were to franchise him again in 2014, Byrd would have to be paid 120 percent of his 2013 salary. That amount is $8.299 million dollars, which would be second in the NFL in 2014 at safety as Kansas City Chief safety Eric Berry’s is $8.417 million next year.
To put how important Byrd is, and why the Bills are cheaper than Scrooge, let me put it this way.
Byrd had five interceptions for the Bills in 2012. All five were in games that the Bills won, which was four out of the Bills six wins and two of those wins were decided by less than seven points. Also, Byrd has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice out of the four years he has played in the NFL.
Simply, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that the Bills can come up with for not paying Byrd. If Byrd were to hit the free agent market right now there would be a bidding war for his services. Teams would be offering him so much money that the average per year salary of a new contract would easily exceed $8.0 million a season.
There is one positive thing that Bills fans can take away from this. The reason the Bills are cheaper than Scrooge isn’t due to Wilson.
For many years there has been the belief that the Bills don’t pay players due to the fact that Wilson is cheap. That isn’t and hasn’t been the case. Wilson handed complete control of the team over to Brandon in January, so if Wilson was the reason than the Bills would have Byrd signed to a new contract already.
There is only one person to blame in that regard and that is Jim Overdorf.
Overdorf is the Bills Senior Vice President of Football Administration and has been handling contract negotiations for years. The whole saga with Byrd has made it clear that who gets paid and who doesn’t get paid on the Bills is up to Overdorf and that is a huge problem.
Those decisions are made by general managers. Overdorf isn’t the general manager and has never been the general manager. The Bills current General Manager is Doug Whaley who was given the position after Buddy Nix resigned earlier this year.
So, until the Bills get rid of Overdorf, they will always be cheaper than Scrooge.