I'm terrible at selling myself. I'm terrible at negotiating a higher rate for a job. I'm terrible at trying to sell myself to girls. I'm terrible at selling why Buffalo Wins is.. um…whatever. I'm terrible at giving off an air of confidence. I just don't sell myself well. I don't think it is about a lack of confidence as much as it is about me wanting to be modest, not wanting to come off as arrogant and self-indulgent. In a way, I do feel like I've never gotten what I'm worth in anything.
I should be rich beyond my wildest dreams because I work hard. I should be married to the hottest girl on the planet because I'm, well, dashing as shit. Alright, that's some embellishment, but I should have more. Yet I just can't convince everyone else. Because of that, I have some sympathy for people in the same spot who need to get recognized for their hard work. If you believe you are worth more than you are getting, you have to go for it because no one else is going to go to bat for you.
That's the reason why I have zero issue with Jairus Byrd wanting to get what he feels he is worth. Call it ego, greed, whatever, if he wants to get paid like his peers, he is allowed to ask for that.
Greed is bad for fans
Now, do I think he's worth the money from a football standpoint? No. I have mixed feelings about the safety position and sometimes I feel Byrd is a byproduct of advanced stats folks trying to shove their computers down my throat. But I think the reason why some people have turned on him is greed. I've always stereotyped fans as being jealous when it comes to a player wanting more money. It goes back to playing a kid's game and being paid like the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. That pisses off the average all-American citizen who can't really do what Byrd does in holding out for a better salary at their job.
People turned on Jason Peters when he was severely underpaid as a starting LT. When he started holding out, a lot of fans couldn't wait to get him out of here. Even though Bruce Smith is probably the greatest Bill ever, he'll never be a top 5 fan favorite because he always wanted to get a raise whenever he outperformed his deal which pissed off legions of fans. As much as the Bills front office has screwed over the fans – a lot more than the "greedy" players have – the fans always seem to side with the franchise over the player.
Why do I want Byrd to get extended?
Why does it seem like this happens every other year with the Bills? I know you can't re-sign all your guys, but it seems like we're constantly pulling this money ball crap out of our ass. Peerless Price, Nate Clements, Jabari Greer, Willis McGahee, Marshawn Lynch, Andy Levitre, Pat Williams, Antoine Winfield, Paul Posluszny, and Jason Peters… All guys who left with the Bills getting either nothing or a few draft picks.
I get it. Other teams do this. Other teams let players leave. You'll tell me how the Steelers, Pats, Giants, and Ravens have done it. But you know why the Bills don't fit in with these other teams? They haven't been to the playoffs in 13 years and have zero championships. On top of that, when you keep doing what the Steelers and Giants have done, it catches up to you. It is like a leak in a dam. If you don't bother fixing a few leaks, your dam might be okay for a while. But once you get more leaks and you only fix it with bubble gum, that dam is going to fucken break.
The Steelers and Giants are terrible right now because they have not been able to replace their FAs. Look at the Chargers. Free agency decimated that team because AJ Smith thought he could replace the Vincent Jacksons of the world with Robert Meachem. That's why I want the Bills to sign Byrd to a long-term extension in the off-season because you need to stockpile good players. But when it comes down to it, the Bills have a terrible track record for replacing guys who priced themselves out of town.
- Demetress Bell replaced Jason Peters.
- Jason Webster replaced Nate Clements.
- Bobby Shaw replaced Peerless Price.
- Leodis McKelvin replaced Jabari Greer.
Colin BrownDoug Legursky replaced Andy Levitre.
- Every running back who left was replaced by a 1st round pick.
- Donald Jones replaced Lee Evans.
- Ron Edwards replaced Pat Williams.
Do you see a pattern here? The replacements were worse and never really got better with experience. When the Steelers used to let OLBs go, they always had some freak in a LB factory waiting to get off the assembly line. That was the only reason they could tell anyone getting a landmark deal to F off.
Instead of comparing the Bills to the elite teams, why don't you take a look at teams who aren't that good and how they have kept good players around?
Have the Chiefs let any of their good players leave over the years? How about Miami? How about Oakland? Detroit? Come on, Google away. Any of them replacing the 3rd rated guard by PFF with some guy who just got cut?
They don't do that stuff. You know why? Because they can't afford to let good players leave. They have fricken sucked over the years. Spare me the talk about upcoming deals for EJ Manuel, Marcell Dareus, and CJ Spiller. We are acting like the cap is 40 million dollars and that their contracts being up in two years means we have to start saving our pennies now.
I just want the Bills to not view money as a barrier in trying to get better. To me, they haven't proved that they can replace these guys with adequate players and because of that, they should keep their own guys.
Did Byrd fake his injury?
Going back to my initial point about getting what you think you are worth, I've always had this thing that selling yourself is fine, but when you do it in unethical ways, well, then my cheering for you goes out the window.
I think most fans believe Byrd deserves to be paid as one of the top safeties in the NFL. Up until he reported to camp, I think it was probably around 70/30 with most fans on his side. However, once the foot injury stuff came up… eh. That's when folks started really going full heel turn on him. Unlike other players, where money played a factor in fans' disgruntlement with the player, Byrd sitting out with an injury he had last season seemed to really put the pressure on him and make the Bills a little more sympathetic.
Look, it is obviously a very slippery slope when it comes to thinking a player is faking an injury or that he's worried about hurting his value. It really sucks if that ends up being the case, especially since the Bills are paying him 7 million bucks and he played with the same injury last year. It is something that gets me queasy to think about or take a shower from feeling dirty about it.
But I'll say this: Before all this contract crap came out, you had a bunch of folks within the organization and who covered Byrd talking about how big of a character guy he was. That he was religious and just an all-around great guy. Does that sound like someone who would say "Fuck this! I'm not playing because of my contract dispute!" Of course, this may have been avoided if the Bills and Byrd had reached a long-term deal from the beginning.
What it boils down to is that I'm just sick of having to go through this with a player who's pretty damn good at his position. It gets tiring after a while. I just want peace of mind about the Bills commitment to winning. Yes, I know you can read off a bunch of contract extensions for guys like Stevie and Wood, but I want more. I also don't think whatever the Bills get for Byrd in a trade (3rd rounder?) is going to be equal value for him. Call it an olive branch of commitment to winning or call it me being a spiteful fan who wants Bills to do as I say. I just want them to sell themselves better to me.
Now, if they took that 7 million bucks and brought in a top tier CB or TE, I'd be fine with it because I value those positions more.
Alas, when have the Bills ever really done that with the money they saved on other players? It just seems like the Bills and myself are having issues in selling ourselves to the world. Yet, I don't think modesty on their end is what is stopping them like me. Instead, it is their own arrogance that may be blinding them.