Winfield contract still up in air

Cornerback Antoine Winfield said there is no news to report regarding a new contract with Buffalo. The fifth-year cornerback is entering his contract's final year, and his agent has held discussions with Tom Donahoe and Jim Overdorf, but there has been limited progress.

Winfield doesn't get involved with the negotiations, but he said that if he doesn't sign a contract extension before training camp, he would play out the season under the current agreement because he doesn't want the negotiations to become a distraction to what might be one of the more promising Bills seasons in years.

As for the money he's looking for in a new deal, he wisely said, "I don't know how much money we have under the salary cap. So I'll just wait and see."

Regardless of his contract status, Winfield is looking forward to the season.

"The defense is looking real good," he said. "We practice twice a week, doing 7-on-7 drills and everybody (new) is just trying to grasp the defense. But we're all practicing. It's voluntary workouts, but you know, everybody's there," he said with a chuckle.

Voluntary workouts aren't very voluntary. When a player chooses to skip a team's voluntary workouts, that usually results in bad public relations. Everybody questions the guy's commitment. He gets labeled as lazy.

The good news is that, according to Winfield, every Bill on the off-season roster – minus the guys in NFL Europe – is working at One Bills Drive and has been since March 24, when the voluntary workouts started. Even Drew Bledsoe.

"The whole team is there," Winfield said. "We're practicing and watching film. It's almost like the regular season. But we do get breaks. We get weekends off. We have a week off in May, and from June 13 to July 25, I think we have vacation – before camp opens."

Winfield doesn't have any vacation plans. He's nervous about traveling given the tenuous state of international affairs.

In terms of Bills affairs, however, he had some definite opinions. Here's a quick Q&A:

Mike Doser: The Bills signed 20-plus free agents before the draft this off-season. That's incredible.

Antoine Winfield: I've kind of grown to expect it. It seems like every year we see 15 to 20 new faces in the locker room. You know, it's the business. The team wants to sign the best players.

Doser: Yeah, but this is a little different because these are 20 to 25 new guys who are not draft picks and rookie free agents. A lot of these guys have good NFL experience. That's different.

Winfield: That's true, a lot of them have been other places. Hey, any experience you can get will help.

Doser: What do you think about Gregg Williams entering the final year of his contract, when all of his coaches were extended? People who say that a lame-duck coach doesn't have much control over a team. Does that factor into a player's mindset at all? Do you think it hurts the recruitment effort at all – getting free agents to come to Buffalo? It hasn't seemed to this off-season. What do you think?

Winfield: I don't think that really happens in the NFL. Players come to teams because of the payday. Now I know when I came out of high school, I was going to sign with Michigan State. But they fired George Perles and so I decided to go to Ohio State. I don't think Gregg's situation affects the players at all. I think the team has a plan and I think Gregg has a plan.

Doser: What else have you been doing this off-season?

Winfield: Well, I was in Houston for about two months, staying with the in-laws. It was nice. I had to get away from the snow up in Buffalo.


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