The Browns could have a shot at Bills Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd in free agency.

The Bills and Byrd, who played for Browns coach Mike Pettine last year in Buffalo, are far apart on a new deal. The club is not expected to franchise him by Monday's 4 p.m. deadline, according to Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 in Buffalo.

Buscaglia reported that the Bills made Byrd "a substantial offer,'' which he rejected. The Associated Press reported that the offer would've paid Byrd about $30 million over the contract's first three seasons.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Pettine acknowledged he couldn't talk about Byrd because he's still under contract, but did allow, "I had a great time with him in Buffalo. He's an outstanding player.''

Meanwhile, Browns safety T.J. Ward is set to become a free agent March 11 if the Browns don't franchise him by 4 p.m. or re-sign him before he hits the market.

Byrd is a free safety, but Pettine said the safeties in his defense are interchangeable. Ward started at strong safety last year and Tashaun Gipson at free safety.

"We don’t talk about our guys in terms of free and strong,'' said Pettine at the combine. "I think that’s key to our success, having guys who have the interchangeable skillset to do both. Teams can force safeties to change jobs anyway, because of some of the things they can do pre-snap. So we want guys who can do both.''

If the Browns feel they can sign Byrd, they could decide to let Ward hit the market.