Value.equals(Object) currently supports directly comparing Value objects with a byte parameter. This is bad practice, and should not be encouraged, as it exploits a pre-generics Java behavior of accepting "Object" as input, and is prone to user error because of lack of type safety. It is not used by any Accumulo code, except for a test, but could be used by users, since this is public API.
I suggest changing this behavior in 2.0.0 and replacing that functionality with a contentEquals(byte) method. This will need to be documented in the release notes in case any users are (unlikely, but possible) comparing Value with byte in this way.