Serious About Success? Sign Steve Johnson

Updated: February 22, 2012

The Buffalo Bills organization is flirting too close to their poor characteristics of the past. It’s been a constant trend for the Bills;  not retaining their talented free-agents, ultimately leaving the franchise with more holes to fill. This is unacceptable, especially for a team that’s been in the “rebuilding-phase” for over 10 years.  There’s a limited amount of draft picks that can be used to fill your team’s voids and none of them are “sure-bets”. Head Coach Chan Gailey, and General Manager Buddy Nix are supposedly serious about bringing another winning franchise to Buffalo again. Well fellas, lets see it.

Steve Johnson is not only one of the most productive receivers the Bills have had in over 10 years, he plays a significant role in Chan Gailey’s offense, without him, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will struggle, along with the entire offense. Not to mention, it wouldn’t be a long shot to say Steve Johnson is the only receiver on the team who possess legit talent. Johnson is one of the only receivers in the league who top defensive-backs like Darrelle Revis struggle to contain. Johnson brings a certain attitude and “swagger” to the Bills offense. Much like RB Fred Jackson (who is also a key to the Bills offensive  success), you can go to Johnson when your team needs a big play or a first down. He has no record of off the field issues and other than his touchdown celebrations and a couple drops, there’s not much negative to say about the young receiver.

Wide receiver is already a position of need for this team, along with many other positions such as defensive end, defensive back, offensive line, etc. Not signing Johnson only creates a deeper void. Re-signing Johnson allows the Bills to pursue one of the many receiving talents through free agency, or in the draft in order to compliment his talent, instead of filling his void. Could you imagine how successful Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense would be if surrounded with talents like Jackson, Spiller, Johnson and the addition of a free agent like Vincent Jackson or Dwayne Bowe? Money wouldn’t be an issue in achieving a unit like this, the Buffalo Bills have more than enough cap space. The mentality shouldn’t  be: “If we lose Steve Johnson, we can find someone else to fill his shoes”, it should be: “We should find another talent talent to compliment Johnson” . Ultimately, putting a better unit on the field, giving Fitzpatrick more options and opposing defenses problems. That is a winning mentality. That is the mentality of a good organization, that wants to win.

So why haven’t the Bills signed Johnson yet? Most likely it’s a dispute about money. For months, the Buffalo Bills and Steve Johnson have been in “talks” about negotiating a contract extension. The Bills have the money to spend, so why not spend the money? Why not make a move that will improve your team? Why not reward a young and talented receiver for producing impressive stats? Especially since he played almost the entire season with nagging injuries, which shows great dedication in Johnson’s characteristics. Granted, there is some time left, and the option of franchise tagging is still available. The problem is, this deal should have been done long ago, preferably right after the 2011-2012 season came to a close. Steve Johnson should be top priority for the Buffalo Bills. This deal should have been done weeks, even months ago. By not closing this deal, the Bills are portraying a negative image of not understanding their priorities, which ultimately creates  a negative image, to both their fans and the entire league.

I’m not saying Steve Johnson is a rare talent and a true #1 receiver, but he fits this offense and helps this team win, so maybe the Bills should pay him like one. Majority of the Bills fans agree with this notion, and through an organization on Facebook, hundreds are even threatening to stop supporting the team if he isn’t re-signed.

The Buffalo Bills need to put an end to allowing their talent pack up and head to another franchise. I will never love another team like I love the Bills, but I cannot and will not support an organization who continues to make poor decisions after poor decisions. I cannot support a team that fails to recognize and reward the true talent they possess. I cannot support an organization who takes the money of thousands and thousands of dedicated fans, only to return a sub-par team. It is unacceptable to not pay a man who has had some of the most productive seasons as a receiver that the Bills have seen in decades.  As a true late round gem, you cannot let Steve Johnson walk. The Bills cannot AFFORD to let Johnson walk. The Bills have to STOP creating holes on their roster. This move is pivotal to this franchise and their future success.