The Buffalo Bills and the representation for impending free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson still have more than a month to get a new contract in place before Johnson becomes an unrestricted free agent on March 13. They have less than two weeks, however, to make enough progress on the negotiation front to eliminate the franchise tag possibility on Buffalo's part.
February 20 marks the date when teams can begin franchise tagging their own players; teams do, however, have the option to wait until March 5 - a week before free agency - to do said tagging. That 15-day window will be a key point in time for this negotiation if no significant progress is made in the next two weeks.
If the Bills do use the franchise tag, the current projected base salary for franchised wide receivers is $9.4 million. Early indications are that he'd struggle to reach that mark on the open market in a deep year for free agent receivers, but that could obviously change quickly. That's also $2 million less than the figure was just a year ago, and nearly exactly the same as it was following the 2009 season. Our question for you, Bills fans, is this: if you were Buddy Nix, would you be comfortable tagging Johnson at that salary if a long-term accord can't be struck?