Blog Entry

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

Posted on: March 5, 2012 9:38 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 1:04 pm
Johnson signs his new contract with Buffalo. (@RussBrandon,
By Will Brinson

On Sunday night, the Bills and Stevie Johnson were "close" to wrapping up a five-year deal that would keep Johnson in Buffalo. On Monday morning, they closed whatever gap was missing, and the two sides agreed to a contract, the team announced.

Johnson's deal is reportedly worth $36.25 million with $19.5 million guaranteed. That's $7.25 million per year for Johnson, which is about right based on market value, and his projected performance.

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"It’s a good day for us. Our football team got better," Bills GM Buddy Nix said at the team's press conference. "One of our philosophies coming in was that we wanted to try to keep our good players here, draft good, develop them and then try to keep them and we were able to do that with Stevie Johnson. It goes without saying what he’s done in the past two years and I think it’s just going to get better. Again, playing against guys that have been here and have gotten out, one of our main goals was to keep guys like him. It took a long time and probably was going to get done because Stevie said he always wanted to be here and we always said we wanted him."

Johnson was a seventh-round pick in 2008 out of Kentucky and didn't contribute much (12 catches) in his first two years. But he exploded on the scene in 2010, catching 82 passes for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2011, he was able to repeat his success, catching 76 passes for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson is clearly the most important weapon in the Bills passing game, even if he's a bit of a prankster sometimes.

"I want to thank Mr. Wilson for taking that chance on me four years ago coming out of Kentucky and using the 224th pick on me," Johnson said at his press conference. "I want to thank him a lot, and my teammates, the whole Buffalo Bills organization for standing behind me through everything. It’s a great feeling. It’s a blessing to be in this organization. This is where I want to be. Everybody knows that.

"I want to thank my teammates who have looked out for me, basically walking me through things, even the younger guys for looking up to me. That’s pretty amazing right there."

Johnson said he's "done" with end-zone celebrations (the Bills must believe him?), but don't expect his personality to change. Witness the one hitch in his contract negotiations, which apparently involved Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's hairstyle.

"If you get a Mohawk mullet with a beard and a design on the left side I'll sign TODAY! If you don't think everyone in the billsmafia you'll be letting down ... The ball is in your court!" Johnson claims to have texted to Fitzpatrick. "Don't be selfish!"

Fortunately, Fitz found a barbershop, so Stevie was willing to get paid:

Fitzy's got a new haircut to celebrate Stevie's return. (

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Since: Jan 19, 2008
Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:26 pm

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

Is it me or is that logo a swastika?? I mean, if he just connects the top of the "E" w/ whatever that thing is on top...I'm just sayin'!

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:22 pm

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

When I analyze the upcoming draft I believe that DE/OLB pass rushing type player is quite deep and can be addressed in 2nd, 3rd & 4th rounds. I am skeptical about the top end talent in these positions. I would agree if Coples falls to 10 that he should be the pick but I do not see that happening for us. The other top DE/OLB have too many question marks:

Ingram - too short and has motor questions;
Upshaw - better suited in the 3-4

Now what would be really interesting if we could fit it in our scheme is to draft Poe or Brockers but that is a luxury we can not afford.... hmmm unless Dareus could move to DE.

I just think the better place to go in the 1st Round is OT. 

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:42 pm

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

I have one thing to say in response to:
I hope the front office now turns their attention to Freddie and get him under contract.
I hope the front office now turns their attention to Freddie and get him under contract!

With March 13th rapidly approaching the team was right to prioritize the pending-UFA.  Now, it's time to get Freddie taken care of.

I also agree 100% with your comments about Fitz.  If he had a stout line in front of him, he might even last long enough to tutor the franchise QB-of-the-future.  Although, if the team cannot get a significant upgrade to the defense in FA then I believe that they should go with a pass rushing LB or DE in the first round.

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:24 pm

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

You were closer than I was as it was announced as a 5 year deal 36.25 Million.... 19.5 Million guaranteed with 24 Million in the first 3 years.

I agree with you that this was a critical signing as it makes a statement that the Bills will do what they can to retain thier own FA's and that the Bills will pay their own FA's what is Fair Market. I applaud the Bills front office for standing their ground and getting the deal done in an acceptable range.

Our beloved Bills will never be a destination for the top FA's in the league. Mario Williams would be a great piece of the puzzle but I can not see him chosing Buffalo over other teams that have the cap room (Tampa Bay) or history of winning (New England).

Last year the Bills front office realized they were going to be in a position to have to spend to meet the cap floor this year which IMO they gave Fitz the contract. Did they overpay for him.... yes.... is it ok for the time being... yes. Fitz is adequate to be the steward of this team for the next 3 years while we find the QB of the future (which I will assume we draft in 2013).

I agree that pick 10 should be used to draft an OT (Reiff or Martin). Then in Rd 2 & Rd 3 address Pass Rusher/TE. Rd 4 look to CB.

I hope the front office now turns their attention to Freddie and get him under contract.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:45 am

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

I hope that both sides were able to settle on a fair number (say $6,000,000 per for a total of $30 Million over 5 years with a 16 Million guaranteed).

I think you are on the low side of what this contract should be, and for what it likely is valued.  When is the last time the Bills had a receiver with back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons?  This does not make him a superstar, but it does make him a play maker for a team that has generally been bereft of play makers for the past decade.  I think that his annual contract may be in the $9 to 10MM range with about half of it guaranteed.

I am merely expressing my opinion for what Stevie Johnson means to this team.  There are a couple of other reasons why I hope that my contract target is closer than what you're projecting:
1) The Bills are seriously below the salary cap and they literally may need to spend more money.  I would rather have that money going to someone that can contribute to wins and to excitement compared to who the team has chosen to dole out money to in the past.
2) If the team is going to have a chance at signing any meaningful FA's then they need to take a page out of the Sabres, book and actually overspend a bit with their own UFA's.

Regardless of who is right between us in terms of the contract value; this is a very good day for the Bills.  Hopefully they will lock down Chandler, (he should be paid a much more modest amount; let's say something like $10MM over three years with $4 to 5MM guaranteed).

They should be players in the Cortland Finnegan sweeps, although I have heard that Dallas is making him a high priority.  Buffalo would probably have to overpay to attain his services.  That's one example for why showing Johnson the money may be a strategic advantage.

I am not sure that I am ready to believe that the Bills can sign Mario Williams.  If they could sign these two defenders... well, their defense suddenly looks pretty decent. Perhaps they could then justify spending their first round pick on the OL.  (Demetrius Bell is, in all likelihood, going to be offered an extravagant salary by some team and I think the odds of his return are low.)

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:55 am

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

I think this clearly shows the Bills are willing to pay for talent.  I didn't think this would happen in a million years with 13 going the way of the past Bills.  I expected us to sign some old dude that would be spun into being a good replacement simply based on the cost.  I hope Mario Williams views this as some level of commitment and at least consders the Bills. 

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:40 am

Bills, Stevie Johnson reach five-year deal

I am glad that the Bills were able to get Stevie back in the Royal Blue..... I hope that both sides were able to settle on a fair number (say $6,000,000 per for a total of $30 Million over 5 years with a 16 Million guaranteed). The boy can play the position and with maturity could be considered a top talent at the position. 

This signing allows the Bills to concentrate on the pass rusher, OT & TE position in the FA market and upcoming draft. I do believe that we will need to get another WR at some point during this off season.

We are still short a few pieces of the playoff puzzle but maybe 2013 we can get back to the tournament. 

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