Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Maybin contract talks with Bills stalled
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Contract talks between the Buffalo Bills and first-round draft pick Aaron Maybin are stalled, and neither side is offering positive signs a deal is close.
Neither the team nor Maybin's camp will offer specifics on how far apart they are, but the Bills are becoming concerned that the defensive end, selected 11th overall out of Penn State, will not report soon enough to be ready for the regular season in less than four weeks.
As of Tuesday, Maybin has missed 21 practices, 15 walkthroughs, countless film study sessions and two preseason games since the Bills opened camp in suburban Rochester on July 25. And it's becoming increasingly likely that Maybin won't take one snap at St. John Fisher College, because the Bills' final day of camp is Wednesday, after which they'll relocate to their headquarters in Orchard Park for the remainder of the preseason.
"You're always concerned no matter who it is," coach Dick Jauron told The Associated Press after practice Tuesday. Jauron, however, wouldn't say whether Maybin's absence is disrupting his plans.
"If the guy's not on the roster, you don't have plans for him," Jauron said. "We'd love to get him in as soon as we can. I know they're working at it, and I know our people are certainly working at it. I hope it happens fast."
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, Maybin is a fast and aggressive pass-rushing specialist, who's expected to immediately help a defense that registered 24 sacks, finishing in a tie with Washington for fifth-fewest in the NFL last season. The Bills believe he's versatile enough to eventually spend time at linebacker.
The last time there was any reported dialogue between the two sides was this past weekend.
General manager Russ Brandon has declined comment except to shake his head "No," in what's become a daily response to questions of whether there are any developments in negotiations.
Maybin's agent, Chafie Fields, maintained his position against publicly discussing the status of negotiations in a brief telephone interview on Monday night.
The Bills have three preseason games left. It's unlikely Maybin will sign in time to play Saturday, when Buffalo travels to Green Bay.
"That's tough because we'd obviously love to have him here," linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "Hopefully, we can get him in here soon, but it's definitely getting to the point now where we need him in here."
Posluszny was a senior at Penn State when Maybin was a redshirt freshman. The two have kept in touch by text message.
"Every time he sees us play, he's dying," Posluszny said.
Maybin entered the draft after only two seasons at college and not even a full one as a starter. Though he played 13 games last season, Maybin didn't take over as a full-time starter until the fourth week. Despite the late start, Maybin went on to lead the Big 10 Conference with 12 sacks and was voted a first team All-American.
Maybin is one of only three first-round draft picks who have yet to sign. The others are offensive tackle Andre Smith, selected sixth overall by Cincinnati, and receiver Michael Crabtree, who was drafted by San Francisco at No. 10, one spot ahead of Maybin.
Maybin's publicist, former NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington previously pinned part of the blame on Crabtree for holding up talks with the Bills. Rookie contracts are traditionally slotted in descending order of where the player was drafted. And with Crabtree unsigned, it makes it difficult to determine Maybin's value.
But that was a week ago, and the argument is less likely to hold up now because enough players selected near Maybin have signed. That includes two defensive linemen: Green Bay defensive tackle B.J. Raji, the No. 9 pick; and Washington defensive end Brian Orakpo, the No. 13 selection.
As a result, Maybin's value should fall somewhere between the respective five-year contracts signed by Raji ($28.5 million, with just under $18 million guaranteed) and Orakpo ($20 million, with $12.1 million guaranteed).