Bills COO Brandon expects Peters to stay put


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Buffalo Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon didn't explain how the team plans to appease disgruntled Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, but Brandon on Wednesday said "we expect him to be on this football team."

Brandon, speaking with vice president of college scouting Tom Modrak at a pre-draft luncheon in Orchard Park, N.Y., didn't seem too thrilled to be speaking about Peters' contract after a year of contract wrangling, holdouts and trade rumors.

The first two questions posed at the luncheon were about Peters.

"Obviously, we talked about this to nauseum, and I'll talk about it one more time," Brandon began. "We value Jason greatly as a player. He's a guy that we signed as a college free agent, as you all know, a player that we developed, a player that we signed to a contract early in his career, and, obviously, Jason, he's done a great job and played very well.

"At the conclusion of the year we talked to Jason, and we're in a situation where we value him a great deal. We'd like to have him on this team, and we'll see where it goes from there."

Brandon was asked if the Bills need to find a resolution before the draft on April 25, when Peters' trade value will be at its peak. In a story written last week, NFL sources claimed a Peters trade would be highly unlikely before the draft.

"I think we're just going to see how the situation plays out with Jason," Brandon said. "Like I said, we value him. We want him on this football team. We expect him to be on this football team, and we will continue to work with he and his representatives."

The Bills are bracing for a repeat of last year's holdout if they cannot reach accord with Peters and his agent, Eugene Parker. Proposals have been exchanged, but the sides remain far apart in contract renegotiations.

Peters last year boycotted offseason workouts, mandatory minicamp, training camp and all four preseason games before reporting to the team two days before their regular-season opener.

Peters has two seasons remaining on a contract he signed in 2006. It will pay him an average of $4 million a year, well below the standard set when the Miami Dolphins signed last year's No. 1 draft choice, Jake Long, to a five-year deal worth $57.5 million and $30 million in guarantees.

The Carolina Panthers in February kept All-Pro tackle Jordan Gross from hitting the open market with a six-year contract worth nearly $60 million.

Peters' second straight Pro Bowl selection and the Gross deal almost certainly will lead to another prolonged holdout if a new deal cannot be reached.