Warren Sapp to Jairus Byrd: 'Go earn' Bills contract

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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Reportedly looking to be the highest-paid safety in the NFL, Jairus Byrd failed to agree on a long-term contract with the Buffalo Bills on Monday, which might lead to ongoing contract haggling.

Soon-to-be Hall of Fame defensive tackle and NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp said on Monday's "NFL Total Access" that Byrd should stop quibbling and just go play.

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"It's about what the team deems you worthy of being paid," Sapp said. "Sign your tender, go back to work and earn it like your rookie year when you came into the league and you went to the Pro Bowl. That's what you do. Whenever somebody questions your play on the football field, you go out on the football field and you show it."

Sapp said because the Bills didn't pony up the dough, Byrd must not have done enough to earn it.

"I question him because you've been there the whole time with Buffalo, and if Buffalo doesn't see you as an asset as far as their franchise player and the guy they want to put as their safety, (that says something)," Sapp continued. "If the team that watches you practice and play every day doesn't deem you the best safety in the game, then you might want to look at yourself."

Sapp's assessment simplifies the situation to its basest element. It's in the Bills' best interest not to give in to Byrd's demands, not because of what the safety hasn't done in the past -- but because his 2013 tag is favorable to the team. Right now, the Bills still hold leverage for next season, and they'll want to see how Byrd fits as they work out a new defense.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.