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Bills avoid using tag by signing Johnson to five-year extension

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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The Buffalo Bills have signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Monday.

The Bills did not initially announce terms of the deal, but a club source told NFL Network's Albert Breer that the five-year deal is valued at $36.25 million, including $19.5 million guaranteed. Johnson is set to get $24 million over the first three years of the deal.

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Johnson’s five-year deal also includes an $8.5 million signing bonus and a $4.5 million option bonus, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Tuesday. Johnson will make a base salary of $2.6 million in 2012, which is fully guaranteed. He also has a base salary of $2.55 million in 2013 along with the $4.5 million option bonus. Of that total, $6.75 million is guaranteed for injury only if the option is not exercised.

At a news conference announcing the extension Monday, Johnson emphasized that he never had much interest in playing anywhere else.

"I knew where I wanted to be, so it wouldn't have made any sense to go see if this team wanted me or if that team wanted me," Johnson said. "It doesn't matter. What's the point of looking if you know where you want to be, and this is where I wanted to be."

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed a six-year, $59 million contract extension in October, was just as happy.

"I'm fired up," Fitzpatrick said in a conference call. "This shows a lot about Stevie, and this shows a lot about where the Bills are headed. Being our go-to guy in the receiving corps and being a huge playmaker for us, it was a must in terms of re-signing him.

"We've developed a great relationship. To be able to continue that and see that grow for the next few years is going to be great. (Coach) Chan (Gailey) and (general manager) Buddy (Nix) have a plan in place and this shows that we're on the right track. We're going to keep the guys that perform, and continue upon what we've done."

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The news came after Johnson seemed to refute reports of a deal via Twitter Sunday night.

Johnson would have become a free agent had the two sides not reached a deal. Negotiations have been going on for some time, with the team considering placing a franchise tag on the receiver if a deal had not been reached. Monday is the last day teams can apply the tag to potential free agents.

"It's a good day for us," Nix said. "Our football team got better. One of our philosophies coming in is that we wanted to keep our good players here. We were able to do that with Steve Johnson. It goes without saying what he's done the past two years, and I think it's just going to get better."

Johnson, 25, caught 76 passes for 1,004 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011, his fourth pro season. The receiver was a seventh-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and started just one game before breaking out in 2010 with 82 catches for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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