|Fred-Ex could be in line for a big contract from Buffalo. (Getty Images)|
The Buffalo Bills were a surprise team for the early part of 2011 and much of that success had to do with perennially unappreciated running back Fred Jackson, who ran for 934 yards in the team's first 10 games. That includes Week 10's 35-8 loss to Miami where Jackson suffered the injury.
In other words, he was having a monster year before going down. And the Bills, according to general manager Buddy Nix, are prepared to reward Jackson, who'll be a free agent after 2012, with a new contract.
"We want to extend Fred," Nix said his recent press conference. "I’d like for Fred to finish his career as a Bill. He’s meant a lot to us. I’ve got great respect for him. I tell him that. We’re going to try to get something done. Does it matter if we do it or if we do it next week or a month from now? As long as we get it done before the season starts it’s all the same, really, seems to me. And it’s not like he’s going to get hurt playing now.
"But we do want Fred back and we do intend to try to workout a deal with him. I’ve told him that and I’m going to tell him again this week before I leave here."
Jackson was, as Clark Judge pointed out, having an MVP-type season before his injury. Having signed a four-year, $7.5 million deal before the 2009 season, Jackson hasn't really hit a monster payday yet.
What'll be interesting is how much the Bills are willing to invest in Jackson. He's only got 817 career carries (topping out at 237 in 2009), but he is on the wrong side of 30.
Additionally, C.J. Spiller came on strong at the end of 2011, rushing for 446 yards in Buffalo's final six games, and averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage and 5.19 yards per carry during that span. He also scored six touchdowns and because he was the Bills first-round pick in 2010, there has to be some commitment to making him a bigger part of the offense.
Jackson's the steadier presence on the ground, however and could form a potentially dynamic combination with Spiller if the Bills line can stay healthy. And if the Bills are willing to pay him. Otherwise he might be running for a new deal in 2012.
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