ORCHARD PARK, N. Bob Cousy Jersey .Y. -- Bills general manager Doug Whaley is done playing franchise tag with safety Jairus Byrd. After spending much of the past year trying to negotiate a long-term contract, Whaley preferred risking the loss of Byrd in free agency rather than applying the one-year tag on the three-time Pro Bowler for a second consecutive season. "We didnt think it was the best option for the team, for us to get better," Whaley said shortly after the NFLs deadline for teams to designate franchise players passed Monday afternoon. "The best thing for the Buffalo Bills was to try to get him signed to a long-term deal." Whaley didnt rule out the possibility of the sides negotiating a deal before the start of the NFLs free-agency period on March 11. "As they say in the movies, theres always a chance," he said. Whaley, however, did call it a "fair assessment" that Byrd is more interested in testing the market to determine his worth after being prevented from doing so last year. Negotiations reached a standstill last weekend after the Bills made Byrd what they regarded as a lucrative multiyear offer. Without revealing the full value and length of the proposal, people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that Byrd would have been paid about $30 million over the first three seasons of the contract. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because neither side is publicly discussing the negotiations. Byrd played under a $6.9 million franchise tag last year. The price for Buffalo to apply the designation again would be about $8.4 million this season. The one-year price tag might not have scared the Bills from using it one more time. A bigger deterrent was paying that much money for a disgruntled player who missed nearly the entire off-season last year before accepting his contract a day before the Bills broke training camp in late August. "I wouldnt say those words," Whaley said, when asked if he was frustrated by a failure to reach a deal. "I would say, Hey, we worked hard. Its still not over yet. Then, when its over, Ill let the feelings seep into the equation." Byrd, selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Oregon, will have an opportunity to be among the top defensive backs available in free agency. He enjoyed a breakout season as a rookie, when he tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions -- a rookie franchise record. Last year, Byrd earned his third Pro Bowl selection. He finished tied for the team lead with four interceptions, and added a sack and a forced fumble despite missing the first five games of the season because of plantar fasciitis in both feet. Byrd has 22 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles in 73 career games. The Bills could lose their top defensive back on a unit that showed considerable improvement last season. Though Buffalo struggled against the run, the defence finished 10th in the NFL in yards allowed -- its best ranking since a second-place finish in 2004. The Bills also finished second in the league with a franchise-record 57 sacks. The defence is in transition this off-season with Jim Schwartz taking over as co-ordinator. He replaced Mike Pettine, who left the Bills after one year to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. The Browns could be a potential landing spot for Byrd. They have plenty of space under the salary cap, and Byrd enjoyed playing under Pettine. The Bills made a roster move Monday by releasing linebacker Willie Jefferson, who was signed to a reserve/future contract in January. Jayson Tatum Jersey .ca. Hi Kerry, Thursday nights Bruins-Blackhawks game had a goal by Patrice Bergeron initially waved off by the referee, but video review clarified it was a good goal. Danny Ainge Celtics Jersey .TV Series: Duck Dynasty. http://www.celticssale.com/kids-paul-pierce-celtics-jersey/ . Team spokesman Donald Beauchamp said there was no new information on the 80-year-old Hall of Famers condition. The family has requested privacy.Paul Maurice returns to Carolina for the first time since taking over behind the bench in Winnipeg as the Jets visit the Hurricanes tonight. Viewers in the Jets region can catch the game on TSN Jets at 5:30pm ct/6:30pm et and listen to it on TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg. The Jets are 8-2-0 since hiring Maurice to take over for the fired Claude Noel. The surge has the Jets sitting only four points out of a playoff spot in the West. Maurice, of course, coached the Hurricanes during two separate stints from 1997-2004 and again from 2008-12. He led Carolina to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002, when they to the Detroit Red Wings. The Jets picked up a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon in Montreal, as they kicked off a four-game road trip on a positive note. Michael Frolik scored the winner in the third period and Al Montoya made 30 saves to help Winnipeg pick up its fourth win in five games. "I made the first save and our guys were there to battle," said Montoya. "Any guy in front of the net, you mind him and take care of business." Tobias Enstrom scored the other goal for the Jets, who will visit Washington on Thursday before playing their final game before the Olympic break Saturday in St. Louis. This evenings tilt is the first of two scheduled encounters between the Jets and Hurricanes in 2013-14, as the former Southeast Division rivals are now in different conferences thanks to realignment. Winnipeg went 3-1-0 against Carolina in last seasons series and the Jets have won four of five and seven of the past 10 in this matchup. The Jets also have claimed three in a row and four of their past five in Raleigh. The Hurricanes could have Cam Ward in net for the first time in 2014 on Tuesday, as the goaltenders team shoots for its sixth win in seven games. The Hurricanes are 5-1-0 over their past six games and the club managed to post a 10-4-0 record in January despite Ward missing the entire month due to a lower-body injury. Robert Williams Jersey. The clubs No. 1 netminder last played for Carolina on Dec. 31 when he earned a home win over the Montreal Canadiens. Ward recently completed a conditioning stint with the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League, going 1-1 with a 2.02 goals against average with Carolinas AHL affiliate. Its unclear if Ward, who is 6-7-5 with a 3.15 GAA and .895 save percentage this season, will start on Tuesday or if Anton Khudobin gets the call again. Khudobin, who was named the NHLs First Star for January, has started 13 of Carolinas last 14 games and he is 5-1-0 over his past six appearances. All told, the Russian netminder was 10-4-0 with a 2.19 GAA and .927 save percentage in January. Carolina had a four-game winning streak snapped last Tuesday in Montreal, but the Hurricanes rebounded from that 3-0 setback with Fridays 3-1 home victory against St. Louis. Jeff Skinner recorded the deciding goal early in the second period and Khudobin stopped 27 pucks for the win. Skinner, who leads Carolina with 23 goals this season, scored just his second goal of the last 10 games. Nathan Gerbe and Alexander Semin also tallied for the Hurricanes. "Right from the get go I thought our guys were focused," said Carolina head coach Kirk Muller. The Canes enter Tuesday with 59 points, leaving them three points behind final playoff spot in the East. Carolina is also only three points in back of Philadelphia and Columbus for third place in the Metropolitan Division. This evenings test is the second tilt on a four-game homestand that will cap Carolinas pre-Olympic break schedule. The Hurricanes are 14-10-5 as the host this season. ' ' '