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Tag:Fred Jackson
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:57 am
 

Bills GM Nix: 'We want to extend Fred' Jackson

Fred-Ex could be in line for a big contract from Buffalo. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Buffalo Bills were a surprise team for the early part of 2011 and much of that success had to do with perennially unappreciated running back Fred Jackson, who ran for 934 yards in the team's first 10 games. That includes Week 10's 35-8 loss to Miami where Jackson suffered the injury.

In other words, he was having a monster year before going down. And the Bills, according to general manager Buddy Nix, are prepared to reward Jackson, who'll be a free agent after 2012, with a new contract.

"We want to extend Fred," Nix said his recent press conference. "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 tell him that. We’re going to try to get something done. Does it matter if we do it 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, seems to me. And 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 workout a deal with him. I’ve told him that and I’m going to tell him again this week before I leave here."

Jackson was, as Clark Judge pointed out, having an MVP-type season before his injury. Having signed a four-year, $7.5 million deal before the 2009 season, Jackson hasn't really hit a monster payday yet.

What'll be interesting is how much the Bills are willing to invest in Jackson. He's only got 817 career carries (topping out at 237 in 2009), but he is on the wrong side of 30.

Additionally, C.J. Spiller came on strong at the end of 2011, rushing for 446 yards in Buffalo's final six games, and averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage and 5.19 yards per carry during that span. He also scored six touchdowns and because he was the Bills first-round pick in 2010, there has to be some commitment to making him a bigger part of the offense.

Jackson's the steadier presence on the ground, however and could form a potentially dynamic combination with Spiller if the Bills line can stay healthy. And if the Bills are willing to pay him. Otherwise he might be running for a new deal in 2012.

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:38 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:41 pm
 

Stevie Johnson, Bills far apart on new contract

Johnson

By Josh Katzowitz

Did you know that Stevie Johnson has been in the league for four years and is just now coming to the end of his rookie contract? You’d be forgiven if you thought that Johnson, through his sometimes-outlandish play and much-of-the-time-outlandish touchdown celebrations, had only been in the league for the past two seasons.

True, in his first two seasons, he combined to catch 12 passes for 112 yards, but he’s turned himself into one of the Bills most important players the past two years. He needs 36 yards in the season finale against the Patriots to go over 1,000 yards receiving for the second-straight year, and though his catches and touchdowns are down from a season ago, Johnson has put together the best two receiving seasons in Buffalo since Eric Moulds in 2004-05.

That’s why it’s not surprising that WGR 550 in Buffalo (H/T to PFT) is reporting that Johnson asked for an annual salary of $7.5 million for between 4-5 years during his contract negotiations with the Bills. Which could be one reason why, according to the radio station, that Buffalo hasn’t made him an offer for the past month. When the two sides met in September, they were apparently about $2 million apart in annual compensation.

What Stevie wants
"We were approached to do a deal prior to the season starting," C.J. Laboy, Johnson’s agent told the station. "When it became clear that the two sides were too far apart, we agreed that it would be best to shelve negotiations and allow Stevie to focus on the season. Stevie never wanted his contract status to be a distraction to him or his teammates. At that time, the Bills turned their focus on getting Ryan [Fitzpatrick]’s contract done, which they ultimately did. A week or so after Ryan’s deal was done, the Bills wanted to re-open negotiations, but when it quickly became apparent that we wouldn’t be able to get a deal done, Stevie decided that it was best to wait until the end of the year before talking about his contract again."

There has been talk that the Bills, instead of inking Johnson to a long-term deal, will franchise-tag him instead. After all, running back Fred Jackson also is in want of a new deal.

As the Buffalo News wrote early this month, “The time to get him at under market value was August or September, or maybe even immediately after quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick signed his contract extension on Oct. 29. Early in the season, a player in his contract year still has some motivation to strike an under-market deal, because he's getting security in the event of a serious injury during the season. …

“Does that mean Johnson is gone? Not necessarily. The Bills still have the franchise tag in their pocket. They could use it on Johnson if no extension can be worked out between now and February. The franchise tag would guarantee Johnson about $9.5 million in 2012 on a one-year deal.

Otherwise, Johnson would walk onto the open free agent market, where he probably could get that $7.5 million a year. While he’s not the best receiver in the game and most likely not in the top-10 -- and probably not worth as much money as he wants -- he’s a proven playmaker with an exciting personality. If the Bills can’t make the deal, somebody surely would be more than happy to do it for them.

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Posted on: December 4, 2011 11:27 am
 

Bills could choose to franchise WR Stevie Johnson

If Buffalo and Johnson don't agree on a long-term deal, he could be slapped with the franchise tag. (AP)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson is coming off a forgettable game against the Jets. Partly because of his touchdown-dance homage to Plaxico Burress' self-inflicted gunshot wound, but mostly because he dropped a Ryan Fitzpatrick (TD) pass that hit him right in the hands on Buffalo's last drive.

After a post-game apology from Johnson, and a sanctimonious finger-wagging sermon from Bob Costas, we're all ready to move on.

Earlier this season, Buffalo gave Fitzpatrick a $59 million contract extension. Next up on the team's to-do list: Johnson and running back Fred Jackson, who landed on injured reserve last month with a leg injury.

Even though the Bills haven't reached a long-term agreement with Johnson, it doesn't mean that he'll be playing elsewhere next season. The Buffalo News' Mark Gaughan provides details:
The time to get him at under market value was August or September, or maybe even immediately after quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick signed his contract extension on Oct. 29. Early in the season, a player in his contract year still has some motivation to strike an under-market deal, because he's getting security in the event of a serious injury during the season. …

Does that mean Johnson is gone? Not necessarily. The Bills still have the franchise tag in their pocket. They could use it on Johnson if no extension can be worked out between now and February. The franchise tag would guarantee Johnson about $9.5 million in 2012 on a one-year deal.

Would the Bills actually let one of their best players, at age 25, walk into free agency without keeping him in the fold with the franchise tag? Who knows? If they're willing to commit $9.5 million to him for next season, one would think they would be able to reach an extension of his deal.
Gaughan writes that the going rate for top-20 wideouts on the open market is about $8 million.

"There are 14 wide receivers making $7.65 million a year or more. Johnson is one of a handful of quality starters who are in the final year of their contracts," Gaughan writes. "They include: Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson, New England's Wes Welker, Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe, San Diego's Vincent Jackson and New Orleans' Marques Colston. … All of those guys are going to be looking at recent deals signed by Dallas' Miles Austin and Seattle's Sidney Rice. Austin signed in 2010 for $8.1 million a year. Rice signed in July for $8.2 million a year."

Is Johnson worth that much? Relatively speaking, yeah.

He had 82 catches for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2010. And through 11 games in 2011, he has 52 catches for 622 yards and five scores. According to Football Outsiders' metrics Johnson isn't quite a top-20 wideout this season; he's 31st in total value and 42nd in value per play. Last season, Johnson ranked 12th and 26th, respectively.

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Posted on: November 23, 2011 7:49 pm
 

With loss of Jackson, Bills have another Choice

ChoicePosted by Josh Katzowitz

With the loss of Fred Jackson to a season-ending broken leg, the Bills announced Wednesday they have claimed Tashard Choice off waivers in an effort to provide new starting back C.J. Spiller some help.

Choice was a quality backup in Dallas from 2008=10, but the Cowboys released him earlier this year. He was picked up by the Redskins, but he missed his first two games in Washington with a bad hamstring. Then, after recording seven yards on six carries vs. Dallas on Sunday, Washington waived him Tuesday.

After losing two yards on a first and goal from the 2-yard line in the Dallas game, Choice said afterward he hoped he would receive another chance from the Redskins. That obviously didn’t happen.

But now, he’ll have an opportunity in Buffalo to help turn around a team that is in desperate need of some positive news.

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Posted on: November 23, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: November 23, 2011 5:54 pm
 

Bills place Fred Jackson on season-ending IR

Jackson

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the season quickly spiraling down the drain, the news just got much worse in Buffalo. The Buffalo News reports the Bills have put running back Fred Jackson on the injured reserve list with a fracture to the fibula bone in his right leg.

While meeting with reporters earlier today, Bills coach Chan Gailey said Jackson, who left last week’s game with what was termed a calf injury, won’t play Sunday vs. the Jets, but Rapid Reporter Mark Ludwiczak wondered if Jackson's injury, sustained last week against the Dolphins after he carried the ball seven times for 17 yards, could keep him out the rest of the season.

Turns out that was indeed the case. And it wasn't an injured calf muscle. It was a broken leg.

"Fred's not good, and I know he'll miss this one," Gailey told reporters Wednesday morning. "Then we'll have to decide what happens from there."

Sorry, Mr. Jackson

Entering last Sunday's game, Jackson had been the league's top rusher, and he's been one of the feel-good stories of the year. He also seemed poised to cash in on a new contract for his production this season (934 yards, 5.5 rushing average, six touchdowns).

On Monday, Gailey said there was a chance Jackson could play. "He’s banged up but we’ll have to wait and see,” Gailey said. “I don’t know if I can give you a good answer right now. He’s hurting and I doubt he would practice early in the week but we hope to have him late in the week."

But it's been clear that Jackson's success the past two seasons caught the organization off guard.

"I don't think anybody foresaw how good Fred Jackson was going to be," Gailey said earlier this month. "When we drafted (C.J. Spiller), we thought there would eventually be a need there that has not shown itself to be. It's not his fault. Fred Jackson's playing extremely well right now. How do you take him out of the ball game? Receiver is not (Spiller’s) natural position, so we'll just have to see how it works as time goes on. It may be one of those things where this year he doesn't get as involved as we all would maybe have thought he might. That's the way it is."

Now that’s out of the question, meaning Spiller, who’s spent much of his time the past month at the receiver spot, will return to running back in Jackson’s place. For a former first-round draft pick that largely has been considered a bust since he was drafted, this will give Spiller quite an opportunity to shine.

UPDATED 5:52 p.m. ET: The Bills announced they have claimed running back Tashard Choice off waivers. This season, Choice already has been waived by the Cowboys and, on Tuesday, by the Redskins.





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Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:16 am
 

Jackson one reason for Spiller disappointment

SpillerPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Fred Jackson has been so effective these past two years -- some would say “so surprising,” although Jackson wouldn’t use that verbiage -- that it’s made C.J. Spiller, the Bills first-round pick last year, and free agent pickup Brad Smith all but irrelevant in Buffalo’s offense this season.

Which, quite frankly, has surprised those in the Buffalo front office, especially considering Spiller was supposed to do great things after leaving Clemson.

"I don't think anybody foresaw how good Fred Jackson was going to be," Bills coach Chan Gailey, said via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "When we drafted (Spiller), we thought there would eventually be a need there that has not shown itself to be. It's not his fault. Fred Jackson's playing extremely well right now. How do you take him out of the ball game? Receiver is not (Spiller’s) natural position, so we'll just have to see how it works as time goes on. It may be one of those things where this year he doesn't get as involved as we all would maybe have thought he might. That's the way it is."

Since Jackson has been so good for Buffalo’s offense -- he’s averaged 5.6 yards per carry (a league-leading 913 yards overall on the season), he’s scored six touchdowns and he’s made 34 catches -- the coaching staff moved Spiller to receiver earlier in the season. But he’s only got 13 catches and 18 rushes this year, and for now, he’s biding his time.

"I'm playing behind a great player in front of me, and I'm trying to soak up as much as I can from him," Spiller said. "Sooner or later my opportunity is going to come and I'll be ready. I'm not discouraged and I'm not going to stop working. I'm going to continue to be prepared and be ready to go."

The problem with Smith is that he’s been used mostly in the Wildcat offense the Bills occasionally use, and lately, that scheme has become almost non-existent for Buffalo. Smith also was hurt by the lockout, meaning he had no offseason with his new team and, therefore, couldn’t learn the offensive intricacies, and by the new kickoff rules which have limited his abilities as a returner.

"I didn't come with any preconceived thoughts," Smith said. "I was hoping to (play more), but it hasn't necessarily been that way. As a competitor and a player I want to be out there. I'll keep working, stay focused and be ready to help the team at any time."

For now, though, it looks like Jackson isn’t ready to give away any of his playing time.

“We did draft C.J. last year. I knew I had to keep working and keep working, even at the beginning of (last) year when I had my hand broken,” Spiller said in a September edition of Five Questions (or more). “I had to keep plugging away at it. I was accustomed to working and seeing how things work out afterward. But C.J. still wants to play, and he still wants to start. That’s what we’re here for. I expect nothing less of him.”

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:36 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-half predictions

Green Bay is being predicted to win the Super Bowl (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re halfway through the season, and since so few of my preseason predictions will come true (seriously?!? The Rams to win the NFC West? Chris Johnson as the comeback player?), I’ve decided to give it another go in hopes that I don’t have to bring my prediction machine into the shop for a tune-up.

Aside from our new, guaranteed to be true picks (you can also check out our CBS expert chat from Wednesday in that link), I’m going out on a limb with this Top Ten with a Twist and giving you 10 predictions that I know in my heart of hearts WILL happen the rest of the season.

Because the great thing about working for a national website, as opposed to a newspaper that gets filed into the recycling bin as soon as you’re done reading it, is that there’s no way anybody will ever know if your predictions turn out to be crap. Oh, wait …

10. The Bills will fall apart: One of the league’s most surprising teams -- though Fred Jackson says you shouldn’t have been THAT surprised by it -- played perhaps its worst game of the season against the wrong opponent last week, losing to the Jets at home and falling into a tie for first place in the AFC East with the Jets and Patriots. Buffalo has to play both teams once more, and though Buffalo should finish with a winning record, that won’t be enough to finish ahead of New England and New York and make the playoffs.

9. The Lions won’t: Detroit’s success hasn’t been nearly as surprising as Buffalo’s, but the fact Detroit is 6-2 through the first half of the season isn’t something we’re used to seeing. But the Lions are legitimately a playoff team. They’re third in the league in points scored -- that can happen when your former No. 1 pick stays healthy (so far) and your top-notch wide receiver scores touchdowns by the bushel. The Lions, even though Ndamukong Suh hasn’t been at his best, still maintain a top-10 defense. Though the second-half schedule is tough, Detroit has a good chance of knocking off Green Bay (the two teams play twice), and if the Lions can stay ahead of the Bears, one wild card spot will be waiting for them.

8. New England will right the ship: The Patriots, despite losing their past two games and looking bad in the process, should still make the playoffs. So, from that aspect, they’ll be good enough. Just not as good as they usually are. That’s because their defense is a major problem (Albert Haynesworth, you’ll recall, was on the roster for eight weeks), and it’s unclear how New England will fix it. But the offense is good enough to survive the second half of their schedule. They won’t get a first-round bye, and they probably won’t survive wild card weekend. So, the season basically will be an abject failure in New England’s eyes.

7. The Colts will win a game (or two): Indianapolis will not be the second team in NFL history to go 0-for-16 on the year. Already, they’ve lost four games by eight points or less, and yes, even though that 62-7 loss to the Saints was ridiculous, Indianapolis (and quarterback Curtis Painter) is good enough to win at least one. It could happen this week vs. the Jaguars at home or at Jacksonville in Week 17, and a win against the Panthers is not completely out of the question. The point is: a team that plays the Steelers to within three points isn’t the worst team in the history of the league. Even if the Colts are the last winless team in the NFL this season.

Sparano6. Jim Irsay will break Caldwell’s firing on Twitter: Irsay has to be my favorite NFL owner of all time, simply because he gets the power of social media. Sure, most of the time he’s tweeting obscure lyrics from Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut album or pretending to look for Brett Favre in Hattiesburg, Miss., but Caldwell also will be the first owner in history to break the news on his own Twitter account that he’s firing his coach. John Elway has been great on Twitter as well, but Elway also has a boss. That’s not a problem for Irsay.

5. Tony Sparano will last the season: I don’t know if Jim Caldwell will make it to the season’s end with the Colts, but I’m thinking Sparano will do exactly that. The team is still playing hard -- and how about the Dolphins beating the crap out of the Chiefs in Kansas City last week? -- and though the talent is lacking in that organization (how much can be blamed on the departed Bill Parcells?), they still believe in Sparano. If the Dolphins can pull of another couple wins, hopefully owner Stephen Ross will let him last through the season. After the emasculation Ross put him through in the offseason, Sparano deserves that much at least.

4. HGH testing won’t be around in 2011: We told you about a month ago that the NFL’s HGH testing was a go and that it very well could start within that week. That was quickly disputed by the NFLPA -- which claims that nobody has explained to the union exactly how the tests will be conducted -- and here we are, nearly a month later, and nothing has happened. As NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman, “We have an agreement to test for HGH. What we don't have an agreement on is the process and the protocol to implement the test.” Considering the glacial pace at which the two sides moved when the 2011 season was at stake, I don’t expect the league to start testing until next season. If then.

3. Carson Palmer will be better than average: That’s not exactly a high bar to jump over, but considering he wasn’t even that in his final seasons for the Bengals, this would be an improvement. Palmer had a rough outing in his first action, replacing Kyle Boller in the second half of the Chiefs game, but he showed some of the Palmer of old, throwing three touchdowns (and three more interceptions) in the loss to the Broncos. Will Palmer be worth the two high-round draft picks the Raiders gave to the Bengals for him? Probably not, but Palmer will keep the Raiders in the playoff hunt.

2. Wade Phillips will save Gary Kubiak’s job: The Texans defensive coordinator is well on his way to doing exactly that for Houston’s head coach. Because, at this very moment, the Texans defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL. You remember what they were last year, right? No. 30. Hiring Phillips might be the best move Kubiak ever made, and Phillips is repaying him by recreating a defense that will lead Houston to the playoffs and keep Kubiak safely employed.

1. Packers will win Super Bowl: I mean, who else is there?

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:56 pm
 

Fred Jackson confident about getting deal done

Jackson

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Aside from Chicago’s Matt Forte -- who feels like the Bears are grinding him to a pulp -- the running back who’s most deserving of a raise is Buffalo’s Fred Jackson.

Forte is making a paltry $600,000 and is a free agent after this season, though a prime suspect to be franchised by Chicago, and he’s the league leader with 1,091 yards from scrimmage. Jackson, meanwhile, makes $1.75 million this year and is slated to earn $1.83 million in 2012, and he has accumulated 1,074 all-purpose yards.

It’s clear Forte is underpaid, but so is Jackson, and while the former gets nowhere in negotiations with his squad, the latter has apparently received assurances from his organization that it’ll make Jackson happy with a new deal.

According to 550 WGR radio, Jackson and Bills general manager Buddy Nix had a meeting three weeks ago, and now Jackson expresses his belief that a deal will get done eventually.

“He let me know that he was thinking about me, but they just had some other stuff that they had to take care of first,” Jackson said. “I've got a lot of faith in him and that's what I'll continue to do. Just put my faith in him and see what happens."

First, the Bills -- who already have re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick for six years and $59 million -- have to take care of Rian Lindell and offensive tackle Erik Pears. They’ll also have to decide if they want to re-sign receiver Stevie Johnson, who’s a free agent after this season.

But as we talked about Wednesday on the CBSSports.com experts chat (and Pete Prisco was outspoken about the issue), is it really worth it to pay running backs top-notch money? Our consensus: probably not.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com