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Report: Bills, Stevie Johnson “far apart” in contract talks

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Stevie Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills runs before the start the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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We noted on Thursday that the Bills and receiver Stevie Johnson have exchanged contract proposals. But that may not have been the sign of progress that it initially appeared to be.

The Associated Press quotes an unnamed person familiar with the contract talks as saying that the two sides are “far apart.” They’re scheduled to talk at the Scouting Combine, but if they’re far apart now, there may not be enough time to get a deal done before the start of free agency on March 13.

That raises the question of whether the Bills would put the franchise tag on Johnson. The report says Johnson doesn’t expect the Bills to use the franchise tag, but then again Johnson may not know what the Bills’ plans are in that regard.

The franchise tender for wide receivers will be about $9.6 million for the 2012 season.