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WR Johnson hoping to return

Posted Dec 14, 2011


There are three regular season games left in the 2011 season. Stevie Johnson is just hoping there will be many more for him after that in a Bills uniform. Buffalo’s top wideout is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this coming March. Johnson wasn’t going to try to predict the future when speaking with the media on Wednesday as he’s resigned to playing out the season and then letting the chips fall where they may.

“It is what it is. We know it’s a business. We’ll see what they’re doing," said Johnson of the Bills front office. "They’ve got plans upstairs to maybe make moves and then maybe bring me back later on so we’ll just see how that plays out.”

Johnson has expressed the desire more than once to remain a Buffalo Bill, but coming to an agreement with the club on what is fair market value for his production is where things could prove tricky.

After a breakout season in 2010 and a productive season thus far in 2011 (68-790-6 TDs) Johnson feels like a new contract should pay him commensurate with some of the better receivers in the game. This past week he became the fourth Bills receiver in team history to post back-to-back 60-catch seasons, and the first since Eric Moulds (1998-2005). To his credit Johnson has played through nagging injuries throughout the season and he has made his share of big plays. He’s missed on a few as well.

Johnson said there have been no talks with the Bills recently, and he does not intend to initiate new dialogue the rest of the season. When asked if he’s open to talking to the Bills before he hits the open market the free-spirited receiver chose again to focus on what’s left of the 2011 campaign and take the offseason a day at a time.

“I’m just ready to play these games and see what happens,” he said. “We already tried all of that months ago and we’re just ready to play these games now and see what happens.”

As far as the possibility of hitting the open market Johnson indicated if there are no developments with the Bills then he’ll have to see what comes to pass.

Buffalo’s receiving corps was decimated by injuries this season. Marcus Easley, Roscoe Parrish and Donald Jones all went down with season-ending injuries compromising one of the deeper positions on the Bills roster. Despite frequent double team's top wideout has persevered.

Johnson has been Ryan Fitzpatrick’s go-to receiver in the passing game this season with a team-leading 110 targets. David Nelson (81) is the only other wideout within 30 targets of Johnson. No other receiving option on the team has 50.

There is some promising young talent at the receiver position for the Bills, but outside of Nelson and Parrish much of it is unproven.

What takes place once the season is over is anyone’s guess with Johnson sounding unsure as to what might occur.

“I guess so, if everything’s right, then yeah, why not,” said Johnson when asked if he’d listen if the Bills approached him again. “But for the most part, I’m just trying to play the rest of these games and see what happens after that.”

Whether the Bills choose to re-open contract discussions remains to be seen, but it seems certain that such decisions will wait until the offseason.