CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Stevie Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills watches the action during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Select members of the Buffalo Bills' front office - headlined by lead contract negotiator Jim Overdorf - met with C.J. LaBoy, the agent to impending free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson, in Indianapolis at the 2012 NFL Combine on Friday. Though a deal was not struck, LaBoy exited the meeting with encouraging words.
"We had a very productive meeting," LaBoy told Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News. "I'm very optimistic. I'm looking forward to continue talking."
Well, hey now. If LaBoy - the guy who has been floating "hometown discounts," "we haven't talked" and "we're still far apart" through the media - is optimistic, we may as well be, too. There's still no deal, but this is a notable shift in tone to the negotiation. That in itself is progress. The two sides still have a full ten days to hammer out a deal before the Bills are forced to decide whether or not they're going to franchise Johnson.