The Buffalo Bills and receiver Stevie Johnson continue to be far apart on negotiations. But if the team and the player can’t worked out a deal to replace a rookie contract that expires at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 13, Johnson will be permitted to hit the open market.
Rodney McKissic of the Buffalo News recently reported that the Bills won’t use the franchise tag on Johnson. Doing so would require the Bills to extend to Johnson a one-year contract worth roughly $9.4 million.
And so Johnson would join a deep class of unrestricted free agent wideouts, which will include (barring the franchise tag and/or a new contract) DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston, Brandon Lloyd, Laurent Robinson, Mario Manningham, Josh Morgan, Robert Meachem, Eddie Royal, Steve Smith (Eagles), and Wes Welker.
In other words, Randy Moss picked the wrong year to unretire.
Johnson has been solid for the Bills, even though he has committed a couple of high-profile drops and has gotten himself flagged for some foolish touchdown celebrations. He gave Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis fits this year, which would make him attractive to one of the other two teams that play the Jets twice per season.