CB Winfield expected to test free agent waters

Bills' starting Cornerback Antoine Winfield claims he intends to test the free agent market in less then two weeks. The free agent to be cites a lack of progress in his contract talks with the team as to why he'd consider leaving.

As we reported last June the five year NFL veteran had hoped to get a deal done before the season was over but it never developed.

Winfield even changed his agent in order to get a deal done but his current agent Richard Katz has said Bills president Tom Donahoe left Winfield little option because the team has failed to make any movement since the two sides last discussed a potential new deal in August.

"You don't play five years and get this close to free agency and say, 'No, I'm not going to see what my value is,' unless there's something on the table that we can't refuse," Katz said. ``And there's nothing there that we can't refuse. Tom and I have talked a lot and have agreed to disagree as to what the value is.''

Winfield joined the Bills in 1999 as the 23rd overall selection of the draft and has been a starter since his second season. Best described as a hard-hitting strong tackler Winfield registered over 100 tackles last year, a rarity at the cornerback position. Yet most cornerback's earn their money through interceptions, one stat that Winfield has struggled getting throughout his career. His career total of 6 compares to the single season totals of other high-profile field of cornerbacks expected to be on the market including Washington's Champ Bailey (5 in 1999 and 2000), Baltimore's Chris McAlister (5 in 1999) and Oakland's Charles Woodson (5 in 1998).

Katz wouldn't say what his client is seeking and didn't rule out the possibility of Winfield re-signing with the Bills.

"If Tom calls me, I'll certainly speak to him," Katz said. "I told him we were intending to hit the market and to keep our lines of communications open.''

Parts of AP reports used in this story.


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