The Bills have been one of the feel good stories of the first two weeks of the NFL season and running back Fred Jackson has been a big reason for that.
Jackson has a league-high 229 rushing yards and his two touchdowns against the Raiders helped spur Buffalo’s comeback victory in Week Two. But he doesn’t have the new contract he wants and that’s still weighing on his mind.
“We’ve approached them, and it’s not gone the way we would’ve liked it to,” Jackson told the Associated Press Wednesday. “I’m annoyed by it. I’ve been playing at a high level for three straight years now. I would like something to be done about it this year. I want something done that’s fair for myself and the team.”
Jackson’s comments come on the heels of reports earlier this week that the two sides haven’t had any talks about a new deal. G.M. Buddy Nix declined to comment about Jackson’s status.
Jackson went on to say that his annoyance at the lack of movement on the contract front isn’t going to affect him on the field. If anything, it sounds like he’s using it as motivation to force the Bills’ hand.
“I’m just saying I can lead this team. Give me the ball and I’ll make plays for you,” Jackson said. “It’s both energizing and validating. But it’s also motivating.”
Jackson signed a four-year deal before the 2009 season and is set to make $1.75 million this year. He’s due to make $1.83 million in 2012, the final year of that contract. He’s a tremendous value at those prices, making it easy to understand both his frustration and the Bills’ desire to keep things just as they are. The Bills also have a decision to make about quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s contract, but there’s enough cap space available to take care of both players if they so desire.
Jackson turned 30 in February and that tends to be a scary age for NFL running backs. He didn’t get his first NFL chance until 2007, though, so he’s got less wear on his body than a lot of other running backs his age. That will likely be a factor in any negotiations between the Bills and Jackson, although there would seem to be a way to get a deal done if Buffalo decides to open up talks.