"They're making it hard," said Dareus (via The Buffalo News) of the negotiations. "And it's just really making me unhappy. I feel like they don't really want me here."
Vic Carucci reported last night, citing a league source, that the Bills have offered Dareus a six-year extension added onto the final year of his rookie deal ($8.06 million, fully guaranteed) that would pay him more than $90 million in new money. But we've known for months - ever since Ndamukong Suh signed a $114 million deal in Miami - that Dareus would command more than what the Bills are reportedly currently offering.
Asked if he had a contract number in mind, Dareus smiled and said "I'll just say, 'Thank you, Suh.'"
"We're still waiting," Dareus said. "I feel like they don't want me here as bad as I want to be here, as bad as the fans and my team wants me here. I feel like they’re saying, 'Whatever. You come a dime a dozen.'"
Dareus all but admitted that he turned up the intensity a bit on the Bills' nationally-televised preseason win over Cleveland last night, showcasing his prodigious talents with a dominant first-half display in which he recorded four tackles and a sack.
"That just lets them know, hey now,'" said Dareus, laughing. "Come on now. Let's get this done. Don't want to use all this up right now."
The Bills will not directly respond to Dareus' comments, as their organizational policy is to not "negotiate through the media," as they put it, but it's easy to see where they might be coming from on this one. They have a lot of big contracts on the books already (something Dareus has certainly noticed), and have several more major long-term contracts to keep in mind, including for Cordy Glenn and Nigel Bradham next offseason.
Still, Dareus is the 25-year-old, two-time Pro Bowl, first-team All-Pro, former No. 3 overall pick who also just happens to be the best individual player on one of the NFL's very best defenses. He deserves to be paid an elite-level contract, and his tactic on Thursday night, while fairly obvious, will nonetheless prove very effective in cranking up the public pressure on the Bills to simply pay their best player what he's asking for.
"They're playing," Dareus said. "It's a contract game. They're playing. They're going back and forth. I play one game, they play this game. There's not much I can really say. I know what I'm worth."
If things don't turn around between the two sides, would Dareus consider walking as a free agent next spring?
"I'm going to do my thing," Dareus said. "I'm not going to do anything less, because my resume is my resume, and I want to make sure they know I'm going to do what I have to do regardless — paid or not. If I'm unhappy, I'm unhappy."