After a tumultuous start to their relationship in 2013, the message from the Buffalo Bills to safety Jairus Byrd is simple: they view him as an important piece and don't want to lose him.

Byrd, who was given the franchise tag by the organization in March, neglected to sign the tag until two weeks before the start of the regular season. He missed all off-season workouts, minicamps, training camp and the entirety of the preseason.

Even after he signed his tag for a cool $6.916 million, the Bills were still without Byrd for the first five games of the regular season because of a bout with plantar fasciitis in both feet. Many pondered if it was an extended ploy by Byrd and his notably stubborn agent, Eugene Parker, to get the player paid and keep him out of harm's way.

That rhetoric proved to be false with Byrd playing in the remaining 11 contests of the season for the Bills. Being brought in slowly, Byrd made the final nine starts and accrued 48 tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble and a sack in his 2013 season. The impact was good enough for the rest of the league, too.

For the third time in five years, Byrd was selected to go to the Pro Bowl as one of the league's elite players. For that reason among many others, the Bills don't want the safety to escape Orchard Park.