The news is, in our view, simply an update to the report that ran last week that noted that the two sides had exchanged proposals, and that they'd be meeting face-to-face to continue negotiations at this week's 2012 NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
The report also states that Johnson and his representatives do not expect the Bills to use the franchise tag on him should negotiations not go well. The $9.4 million tag figure, the report says, would cripple the team's already pinched budget and prevent them from addressing other positions in free agency.
There are still 22 days until free agency begins, so there's plenty of time for the two sides to close the gap. With the franchise tag apparently off the table, however, the already-high stakes in this negotiation were just raised for the Bills.