Bills general manager Doug Whaley said earlier this offseason that locking up defensive lineman Marcell Dareus to a long-term contract extension would be the team’s No. 1 priority following the draft, and the GM stressed that point again today. According to John Wawrow of The Associated Press, Whaley called Dareus’ contract Buffalo’s top priority, and said he has had preliminary talks about a new deal.
Earlier today, Dareus expressed a desire for the Bills to advance those contract extension discussions, admitting that the situation is weighing on him a little. While he didn’t specify what sort of salary he’ll be seeking on his next contract, the All-Pro defensive tackle told Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter links), “Turn on the tape. It speaks for itself.”
Dareus’ comments could be interpreted as the 25-year-old hinting at a little frustration with the negotiations, but it appears both sides are on the same page in wanting to get something done. Whaley told Wawrow that he intends to meet with Jim Overdorf, the Bills’ chief negotiator, on Wednesday in an effort to move the talks along.
Dareus will serve a one-game suspension to start the 2014 season, but that penalty isn’t expected to have a real impact on his extension negotiations with the Bills. In 2014, Dareus was the league’s fourth-best defensive tackle, behind only Aaron Donald, Gerald McCoy, and Ndamukong Suh, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required). PFF also ranked the Bills star as the NFL’s best run defender among defensive tackles, with a +20.7 grade.