Bills contact LT Peters to discuss deal

Updated: March 24, 2009, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

DANA POINT, Calif. -- The Buffalo Bills are attempting to negotiate a new contract with left tackle Jason Peters to avert another offseason holdout by their two-time Pro Bowl player.

Speaking at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday, coach Dick Jauron said the team has been in contact with Peters' agent and added "we're trying to get something done."

Jauron was uncertain whether Peters would take part in voluntary workouts this spring, but he's anticipating Peters will be at the Bills' mandatory minicamp scheduled for June.

"We're anxious that he's present and involved. It doesn't serve anybody's purpose when he misses all that time," Jauron said. "Last year he didn't show up. We've just got to anticipate that he will and we've got to keep working in that direction and keep the lines of communication open and believe he's going to show up, because that's all we can do."

Peters' contract status -- and fears whether he'll repeat last year's holdout -- has been one of the team's more pressing issues this offseason.

Scheduled to make a base salary of $7.2 million over the final two years of his contract, Peters is considered underpaid for a player at such a high-profile position.

Last year, he attempted to force the Bills into negotiating a new deal by refusing to attend offseason workouts and all of training camp. Peters reported a day before Buffalo's regular-season opener.

After being fined more than $600,000 for the time he missed, Peters agreed to report only after the Bills provided him an assurance -- but not a guarantee -- they would discuss a new contract.

Despite a slow start and sitting out Buffalo's first game, Peters earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection. He missed the Pro Bowl because of a knee injury.

Peters complained in December that there had been no progress on contract talks. It's unclear whether the two sides have made any headway over the past three months.

Peters' agent, Vincent Taylor, declined comment, telling The Associated Press on Tuesday he's been instructed not to discuss the status of talks. As for the possibility of Peters missing the team's offseason minicamps, Taylor said that has not been discussed.

Jauron doesn't want a repeat of last year because Peters' absence was a setback to the offensive line, forcing right tackle Langston Walker to switch to the left side. The line's chemistry is a bigger issue this offseason after the team released starting left guard Derrick Dockery and didn't re-sign centers Duke Preston and Melvin Fowler.

Geoff Hangartner, a four-year player signed in free agency last month, will take over at center. Kirk Chambers is penciled in to take over at guard.

"It's a concern, because it didn't work out the way we wanted it to because he wasn't involved with us," Jauron said, referring to last year. "We'd like him to be involved with us in the offseason."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press