The Bills have made completing a contract extension for Pro Bowl DT Marcell Dareus a top priority. Dareus is entering the final year of his contract after Buffalo picked up the fifth-year option on Dareus' rookie deal. Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on Bills' flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Wednesday said he is optimistic that the two sides will find enough common ground to get the deal done.
"I'm optimistic, I am," said Whaley. "Now will it come to fruition? There are a lot of moving parts, but I'm optimistic when both sides are trying to find a solution where everybody feels they win. We've exchanged proposals and we're working hard. We want to get this thing done. Something of this magnitude is going to take some time, but we're confident that both sides want to get this done."
Dareus is coming off a pair of back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons, including a career-high 10 sacks last season. At just 25-years old, Dareus is just approaching the peak of his career and figures to sign a landmark deal for both him and the Bills franchise.
Earlier this offseason the division rival Miami Dolphins signed free agent DT Ndamukong Suh to a seven-year contract in excess of $100 million. When asked about the prospect of signing Dareus to a deal of that size Whaley did not want to get into specifics.
"I'm comfortable giving a contract that we think is right for the Buffalo Bills and he thinks is right for him," Whaley said. "What that number will be who knows? But we're just trying to find a middle ground where they feel they've won and we feel we've won and it's best for both of us."
Dareus successfully stayed on the straight and narrow this offseason after some off the field incidents last year. Whaley expressed confidence that the defensive tackle has grown up and is worth the clubs' long-term investment.
"He's trending in the right direction and came into camp in shape this year and passed the running test," said Whaley. "I think he's matured."