Bills, Stevie Johnson not on same page
Steve Johnson
Posted Feb 20, 2012
Aaron Wilson

The Buffalo Bills are no closer to signing veteran free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson at this time, according to league sources with knowledge of the situation. Sources confirm a significant difference of opinion on how Johnson should be compensated as the two sides have exchanged contract proposals. However, negotiations are expected to continue this week at the NFL scouting combine.

The Bills aren't inclined to use the franchise tag at this time to prevent Johnson from heading to free agency, per a source.

Contrary to speculation, Johnson isn't seeking to be paid $9 million annually. The Bills have a history of having trouble retaining free agents, including former Buffalo linebacker Paul Posluszny.

They're also not enamored of using the franchise tag. It's been six years since they used the designation on former cornerback Nate Clements.

Johnson, 25, led the Bills with 76 receptions for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns last season, hauling in a combined 158 catches for 2,073 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The Bills have until March 5 to use the franchise tag to retain Johnson. Free agency starts March 13.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is regarded as one of the top young wide receivers in the game. He has no history of off-field problems or character issues.

The former seventh-round draft pick from Kentucky was fined twice last year by the NFL for excessive celebration.

Bills coach Chan Gailey benched him during a regular-season finale against the New England Patriots after he was penalized for excessive celebration after a touchdown.

At this point, the Bills aren't in the red zone as they try to secure the services of one of their most talented players.

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