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Bills, Stevie Johnson not talking contract yet

Bills' Johnson runs against the Broncos' Woodyard and Carter in Orchard Park

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson (13) runs the ball against Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard (52) and safety Quinton Carter (28) in the second quarter of their NFL football game in Orchard Park, New York December 24, 2011. REUTERS/Doug Benz (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


When Buddy Nix addressed the media following the end of the Bills’ season, the general manager said that there was ongoing dialogue between the team and impending free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson about a new contract.

In an interview with Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 in Buffalo, Johnson’s agent C.J. Laboy confirmed that he has spoken with Bills brass but those chats haven’t had to do with a new contract. The Bills wouldn’t comment when asked about the status of negotiations, but Laboy doesn’t sound concerned about the pace of discussions. He told Buscaglia he’s optimistic that a deal will get done and that he understands why talks aren’t going on right now.

“Far too early for that,” Laboy said. “The Bills have options. They can use the franchise tag on him, they can negotiate an extension, or they can let him walk. It is no secret where Stevie’s heart is, but at the same time he has to do what is best for his family.”

The Bills should have enough cap space available to sign Johnson without hindering any other plans they might have for the offseason and doing so would fit with other moves they made during the season to keep their own players around for the next few years. Coming to agreement on a number for a long-term deal could be sticky, but it is hard to believe they wouldn’t use at least the franchise tag to ensure the first receiver in team history with consecutive 1,000-yard seasons stays in town.