Bills GM Buddy Nix covered a wide range of topics in his season-wrap up press conference late Monday morning at One Bills Drive. Some answers were very candid while others were left open to what the future held, but what was clear was that re-signing Stevie Johnson is a priority. And according to Nix dialogue has been re-opened since the season ended.
"There were proposals made during the season," said Nix. "The last one we made their stance was we'd like Stevie to concentrate on the season and finish out the year and start the talks at the end of the year. There has been dialogue since the season was over and it will continue."
Nix was asked right off the top about whether the team wanted Johnson back in the fold after his second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season. Buffalo's personnel boss made it plain that the desire is to re-sign their top wideout.
"We do want him back," said Nix. "I know that you think about the antics and the penalties and obviously we're not happy about that. I don't think Stevie is either. We're around him a lot. I know the things he does at practice. He practices hurt and I think he's a team guy. Yeah we want him back."
Last week head coach Chan Gailey indicated that he wanted Johnson back, but with stipulations as he referenced the end zone displays that drew penalty flags. After meeting with Mr. Wilson last last week, however, Nix made it sound as though they feel that Johnson can be trusted moving forward, leading one to believe that some of the dialogue with the Johnson camp has ironed those issues out.
"That's behind us," said Nix. "I don't think he'd intentionally do something to hurt our team. I really don't. I know it. He tries to do the right thing when he's playing. He tries to do the right thing in practice. He's not a criminal. He made a mistake, it cost us and he paid the price. Now he may do it again. If he does we'll deal with it. That doesn't affect what we trying to get done with him."
Under the pretense of the team re-signing Johnson, Nix stated Monday that they still believe another quality wideout would need to be added to the mix, and judging by his comment it sounds as if he's leaning toward free agency.
"There's only one Calvin Johnson, but there are some more (out there) similar to that where they're not covered when they're covered," he said. "We could still use another big time receiver."
Jackson contract will be addressedNix also maintained that another one of the team's top offensive playmakers would be properly taken care of as well. Buffalo's GM said Fred Jackson's contract would be addressed, but didn't attach great urgency to it knowing the running back is under contract through the 2012 season.
"Fred and I have talked," said Nix. "We want to extend Fred. I'd like for Fred to finish his career as a Bill. He's meant a lot to us. I've got great respect for him. I've told him that. We're going to try to get something done.
"Does it matter if we do it now or if we do it next week or a month from now? As long as we get it done before the season starts it's all the same really. It's not like he's going to get hurt playing now, but we do want Fred back and we do intend to try to work out a deal with him. I've told him that. I'm going to tell him again this week. Just to reassure him that what we said is what we're going to do."