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Buffalo Bills agree to new Ralph Wilson Stadium lease

Buffalo Bills fans haven't had enough to cheer about over the last decade, but we have great news for them: The team is staying in town.

The Bills reached an agreement with the state of New York on a 10-year lease deal for Ralph Wilson Stadium. The new lease, first reported by The Buffalo News, was announced at a press conference Friday morning.

The agreement includes a prohibitive relocation penalty. The Bills would have to pay $400 million if they leave during the first seven years of the lease. The penalty drops to $29 million for the remainder of the lease. That will quiet any talks about the franchise leaving until at least 2020.

The agreement also provides $130 million to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills will pay $35 million of that sum, with the state and Erie County sharing the rest.

Bills CEO Russ Brandon previously had dismissed discussions of the team's need for a new stadium, saying it was committed to continuing to play at its current home. But now he's open to the possibility of a new venue.

"We're going to look at the potential of a new stadium in the next decade or so, and see if it makes sense for our community," Brandon said, via The Associated Press.

With the Los Angeles market still open and the Bills' foray into Toronto having mixed results at best, this news should quell any anxiety from Buffalo fans that the NFL franchise will leave town. Buffalo has one of the most knowledgable, passionate fan bases in the NFL. They deserve a team. Now they just need a winner again.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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