While teammates wait and wonder whether Jason Peters will report to Bills training camp before Thursday's midnight deadline, Buffalo's front office wonders as well. That's because contact with their Pro Bowl left tackle has been virtually non-existent the entire offseason.
"To be very honest with you it's been a road map of silence to date," said Bills COO Russ Brandon of the organization's contact with Peters. "The guys have until midnight to get here tonight and we certainly anticipate and hope that Jason is here."
Brandon confirmed for Buffalobills.com that if Peters is a holdout come 12:01 am Friday and is not on the field for the first practice that he will be fined. The maximum daily fine allowed by the NFL is just over $15 thousand.
Peters has three years remaining on his current contract. The Bills made a proactive commitment to Peters two years ago banking on him realizing his vast potential. But now that the left tackle has achieved Pro Bowl status it's believed he wants a new and improved contract.
It appears the Bills are not opposed to discussing a new deal, but Brandon would like to see Peters in person to begin such talks.
"It's difficult to have discussions with someone that's not here and has not elected to participate in what we're trying to do," said Brandon. "We feel we have something special going on here. We play the ultimate team sport. It's not about individuals, it's about the team. We expect Jason to be here and honor his commitment to the organization. We made a substantial commitment to Jason two years ago."
Buffalo also has a good record of rewarding players with new contracts even if they're only a couple of years into an existing deal. But it seems the Bills front office wants to see the same commitment to the team from the player before making a new commitment to them.
"We have conversations with our guys all the time," said Brandon. "I think we have a proven track record of trying to get guys done and extending guys out. We've done it already this offseason with Kyle Williams and Brad Butler and we've done it with Aaron Schobel in the past, Terrence McGee. There's a long line of guys that we've done it with, but it's very difficult to have those conversations when the individual is not participating in your work."
Brandon says the only contact he has had with Peters personally this entire offseason was in late January when he came in for a check up following surgery for a sports hernia suffered late last season.
"It was a very short, 'Hey how you doin?' It was very cordial like it always is with Jason," Brandon said. "He's a wonderful individual, but that's the last contact personally that I've had with him."
Peters agent Eugene Parker also represents Bills second-round pick James Hardy, and even though conversations on a contract for the wide receiver have been constant over the past week Brandon says talk about Peters has been minimal.
"Very briefly with Eugene," said Brandon. "Everything has been really focused on James. It's been a very quiet situation and that's as honest as I can be about it."