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Jerry Hughes contract a high priority for Buffalo Bills

Now that the Buffalo Bills' coaching situation is starting to settle down, the team sounds like they're ready to ramp up efforts to re-sign Jerry Hughes before he hits the open market.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In a Thursday morning radio appearance on WGR 550's The Howard Simon Show, Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley told Simon and Jeremy White that the team has already reached out to Jerry Hughes and his agent regarding a contract extension.

Whaley cautioned that he's not up to date on the latest regarding the negotiations - he's been a bit busy interviewing a dozen coaches and working with new head coach Rex Ryan to fill out his coaching staff - but did confirm that Jim Overdorf has been in contact with Hughes' representation.

Hughes, 26, is coming off of back-to-back 10-sack seasons - one in the defense Ryan is about to install in 2013, and the other under departed coordinator Jim Schwartz this past season. A versatile athlete and emerging speed rusher, Hughes received All-Pro votes this season on the Bills' loaded defensive line. He's spent the last two seasons with the Bills, having been acquired via a May 2013 trade involving linebacker Kelvin Sheppard.

Whaley also confirmed that the team plans on making an attempt to re-sign running back C.J. Spiller, as well, but it's also clear that retaining Hughes is the team's top priority before free agency begins.