Bills, Allen to put off talks if no deal done by season

NFL

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)Bills general manager Brandon Beane told The Associated Press on Monday he is giving himself before the start of the regular season to negotiate a long-term extension with quarterback Josh Allen before putting off discussions until next year.

Beane wouldn’t specify an exact date in saying the two sides have agreed to suspend talks before Week 1 in September so as not to serve as a distraction for the fourth-year starter, whose rookie contract runs through the end of the 2022 season.

”Josh and I are in lockstep on that,” Beane said during a brief interview after practice. ”There will be no negotiating in-season. At some point we will press the pause button.”

The Bills are into their second week of practice and open the regular season hosting Pittsburgh on Sept. 12.

Beane first hinted at a deadline during an appearance on the Bills flagship radio station, Buffalo’s WGR-550 earlier in the day.

”We’ll see here soon. We’re in August, so I’d say we’re down to a few weeks to either get this done or delay it, and try it again in 2022,” he said. ”Hopefully, we can get something done this year. But if not, we’ll be excited. Josh knows. He and I have had great conversations this spring and summer about it.”

The Bills bought themselves time on negotiations in May when they picked up the fifth-year option – worth nearly $23 million – of Allen’s contact. The fifth year of the contract is guaranteed, though the Bills can renegotiate the deal as part of an extension.

Allen has earned a significant raise following a breakthrough season in which he set numerous franchise passing and scoring records in leading Buffalo to win its first AFC East title since 1995 and make its deepest playoff run in 27 years. Buffalo’s season ended with a loss to Kansas City in the AFC championship game.

In doing so, the 25-year-old Allen solidified a position which had been unsettled in Buffalo since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season.

Allen opened training camp by saying he’s not concerned about contract talks.

”Whether it happens or it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to change my approach to be the best teammate, the best leader I can be for this team and this organization,” Allen said. ”My focus is completely on the field.”

This story has been corrected to Beane saying he’ll suspend talks before the start of the regular season instead of the start of the preseason.

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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