The talk of the town in regards to the Buffalo Bills this week all revolves around franchised safety Jairus Byrd and what resolution, if any, will come of it by next week. The two sides have until Monday, July 15 at 4 pm to get a long-term contract extension signed, sealed and delivered to league offices. Based on the latest news and trends, it doesn't appear to be all that likely that Byrd and the Bills reach a conclusion by the beginning of next week. The lingering question, however, is whether or not the free safety is worth the type of money that he is likely asking for. Using advanced statistics, on the field scouting and some of the top salaries in the league, one can start to figure out if Jairus Byrd has a case to be one of the highest paid at his position in the league. Top Salaries Before going through anything else, you have to first identify the top current salaries throughout the National Football League at Byrd's position. Looking at it three different ways (with the help of Spotrac.com, a database for contracts), there are 11 players that appear within the league's top ten salaries. If you look at it from their 2013 salary cap hit, their 2013 base salaries, or their average salaries, the common names are Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu, Kansas City's Eric Berry, Tampa Bay's Dashon Goldson, San Diego's Eric Weddle, the New York Giants' Antrel Rolle, Tennessee's Michael Griffin, Indianapolis' Antoine Bethea, Oakland's Tyvon Branch, Indianapolis' LaRon Landry, Houston's Danieal Manning and San Francisco's Donte Whitner. Byrd, by way of his franchise tag that will be worth $6.916 million if and when it's signed, is among the top seven in all three categories. So how does he stack up against the Polamalu's, Goldson's and Weddle's of the NFL? Advanced Stats What makes figuring out a defensive player's worth so incredibly hard to do is because the accepted statistics rarely paint the complete picture as to what an individual brings to the table. It's especially important to complement those statistics with a new way of breaking down players with more situationally specific statistics. Byrd had a modest 76 tackles which placed him 33rd among safeties in 2012, but also chipped in five interceptions (third among safeties) and four forced fumbles (tied for the most in 2012 among safeties). It's likely the player and his agent, Eugene Parker, are hammering down on those last two statistics to try and bill him as a playmaking safety. But what do the advanced stats say? Using a tremendous tool for trying to know the inns and outs of players throughout the league, AdvancedNFLStats.com devised two barometers of a player's excellence or failures. They use 'Win Probability Added' (WPA) and 'Expected Points Added per Game' (EPA/G).
Is Byrd worth it for the Bills?
WGR 550 Sports Radio | Jul 10