With all the key dates for NFL off-season activity now in the rearview mirror, the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the league have some time to breathe between now and the start of training camp.
Each team has their individual hurdles to climb. For instance, New Orleans is trying to close in on signing quarterback Drew Brees, Pittsburgh is attempting to get Mike Wallace to end their present stalemate, while the same goes for Matt Forte in Chicago and Ray Rice in Baltimore.
But for the Bills, their newest top priority isn't someone who is without a contract. As outlined in the "So what's next for the Bills?" column I wrote on Friday, the first order of business is to extend top running back Fred Jackson for the long-term.
Buddy Nix has said in the past that he will take care of Jackson, and both the player and his agent have said publicly that they trust that Nix is a man of his word. It seems the last thing the Bills would want to do is to keep Jackson waiting and wondering, especially with OTAs and mini-camps approaching quickly.
When reached over the weekend for an answer to the question, "Has there been any progress between you and the Bills," Jackson's agent Ron Raccuia responded quickly and succinctly:
"Check back with me in a couple of days."
In my experiences with various agents, the less that is said and the less you hear is usually indicative that something strong is brewing. Raccuia's lack of comment could be perceived as a hint that a deal between the Bills and Jackson is very, very close.
Or, he could just be protecting the negotiations between the team and his client -- which is also common for sensitive manners like this one. It's certainly open for interpretation.
It's no sure thing at this point in time based on a brief exchange and a few words from Raccuia, but just from my perspective and past dealings with people around the league, I wouldn't be surprised if a new deal for Jackson is announced sooner rather than later.