Marcell Dareus top priority, Bills GM Doug Whaley says


Now that the overhauled offense in Buffalo is suddenly a marquee attraction, the Bills are turning their attention to the other side of the ball.

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General manager Doug Whaley expects to finalize a long-term contract extension for two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus "in the near future."

"He will be priority No. 1 once the dust settles post-draft," Whaley added, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, "maybe even before then, just to get the ball rolling."

The Bills have already exercised the $8.06 million fifth-year option on Dareus' rookie deal.

Still just 25 years old, the former No. 3 overall draft pick is a logical candidate for an extension. His ability to consistently draw double teams has freed up Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes as one of the NFL's most effective pass-rushing duos.

It doesn't hurt that new Bills owner Terry Pegula used to own Five Star Athlete Management, the agency which represents Dareus.

Whaley recently expressed hope that Dareus' asking price won't approach the six-year, $114 million commitment the Dolphins just made to Ndamukong Suh.

A more logical starting point is the seven-year pact worth up to $98 million that Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy signed in October.

The Bills can free up money by restructuring and extending Mario Williams' contract just as they did with Kyle Williams earlier this month.

"We want to set a precedent that we retain our own and we have them retire as Buffalo Bills," Whaley explained. "I think that's a sentiment we're trying to show the players on our roster now."

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