NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports the Bills still want to do a contract with Byrd, but they plan to place the franchise tag on him if that doesn't happen. They won't let Byrd get away for nothing. (A long-term deal before the March 3 franchise-tag deadline sounds unlikely.)
The franchise tag is not intended to be used as a vehicle to make a trade. It's supposed to be a precursor to signing a player long-term. Byrd, who played for new Browns coach Mike Pettine last season in Buffalo, didn't sign his franchise tag with the Bills last year until late August. He didn't suit up until Buffalo's sixth game of the season, and then proceeded to have a fantastic season.
Byrd is not likely to be happy about getting the tag, despite the 20 percent raise to a one-year offer sheet worth roughly $8.3 million. Getting the tag is the first step in what promises to be a long, potentially contentious process. It could end in a long holdout, a new contract or possibly a big-time trade.