Fresh off a big offseason of signing and re-signing key players, the Buffalo Bills have already indicated that they're thinking ahead to next year's free agents.
Bills general manager Buddy Nix said that three key players with expiring contracts – cornerback Jairus Byrd, and offensive linemen Andy Levitre and Kraig Urbik - are priorities in the next 12 months:
"We definitely want those guys back. I'vetold them. They know that. As far as us working on contracts we’ve been kind of busy. I think they want to be back and we want them back and when the time comes we’ll get started on it."
Nix has been big in terms of getting his core players to stick around. He re-signed RB Fred Jackson and WR Stevie Johnson to big deals this offseason, and has shown no indication that he intends to let core players leave town, as was past practice over the past decade for the club prior to Nix's arrival.
All three players might be due a rather big raise. Byrd, 25, was an All-Pro and member of the Sporting News all-rookie team in 2009. He tied for the league lead that year with nine interceptions while deflecting 20 passes and making 45 tackles. He's made 229 career tackles, 13 career interceptions and recorded two sacks while scoring two touchdowns.Byrd is playing out the final year of a four-year, $4.2 million contract.
Levitre, 26, also made the 2009 all-rookie team. He's started all 44 games he's played in his three seasons. He was part of an offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL in 2011. Levitre's in the final year of a four-year, $3.56 million deal.
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