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Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills Not Close On Contract, Per Report

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CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02:  Stevie Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball 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)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Stevie Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills runs with the ball 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)
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The Associated Press is reporting that while contract talks are ongoing between the Buffalo Bills and receiver Stevie Johnson, the two sides are still "far apart" in those discussions.

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.