Throughout Buddy Nix’s pretty amazing offseason, I had only one major outstanding concern that the Bills GM had yet to address: the contract situation of Buffalo’s star RB Fred Jackson.
In case you weren’t aware, Jackson has just a single year left on his current contract. That contract that pays him a relatively paltry sum of $1.96 million in 2012 – an absolutely fantastic deal for a guy who was probably one of the NFL’s very best running backs in 2011 before his season-ending injury.
Jackson, understandably, wants to be paid better for his high-quality work. He’s also 30 years old, and wants one decent contract before his NFL career his over. As I’m sure you’re aware, Jackson took a very roundabout route to NFL stardom that included stops at Division III Coe College, indoor football, NFL Europe, and a few years toiling on Buffalo’s practice squad. He’s never really gotten big money, and he knows this is really his only chance.
Nix knows this, and during an appearanceon SiriusXM NFL Radio with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan Nix said that he has apparently taken steps to assure Jackson that the team will take care of him:
“Fred and I have visited a couple of times,” said Nix. ”Fred has been vocal some about wanting a new deal and that kind of thing so finally I called him in and we talked twice. I told him we’re going to offer you an extension. We had priorities with guys that were unrestricted that we didn’t want to lose. I told him when we get through it we’ll at least do it before training camp. That way there’s no chance of him getting hurt. He’ll be healthy and he’ll have an extension before he goes to camp. We’ll be as straight as we can with him.”
Nix doesn’t always say much to the media, but he never lies – if he says something, he means it. As long as Jackson is willing to agree to a reasonable deal, he’ll get it.
And he deserves it. Jackson was a borderline MVP candidate in 2011. Yes, the team has C.J. Spiller waiting in the wings, but you don’t let good players go if you can help it. You can never have too many good players, especially running backs. Jackson and Spiller can terrorize the league for years to come.
Not to mention Jackson is the most respected guy in the Buffalo locker room. Extending him reinforces the message Bills management has been sending all offseason: we’re here to win.
And that sure is a refreshing message to hear.