Bills and key player at loggerheads

Buffalo might lose a player they had big plans for, and this, in turn, could help the Jets when they play the Bills.

In March, Buffalo traded linebacker Takeo Spikes and quarterback Kelly Holcomb to Philadelphia for defensive tackle Darwin Walker, and a 2008 seventh round draft choice.

The Bills desperately needed some veteran help at defensive tackle, and Walker is just what they needed. The Bills are thin at the position, especially since last year's #1 pick, DT John McCargo, is a question mark for this season after two foot operations.

But now it's unclear whether Walker is ever going to wear a Bills uniform. He has yet to report to the team. He wants a raise over his current $1.3 million salary for 2007, and the Bills don't want to give it to him.

"Walker wants a new contract just like he did in Philly, but he's not going to get it from the Bills," said a source close to the Bills. "They can't hand a guy that hasn't played a down for them more money when you have guys like (DE Aaron) Schobel and (LB Angelo) Crowell with contracts that are now outdated after the CBA extension. It will be terrible precedent."

So what happens to Walker if he doesn't report to training camp?

"His rights revert back to Philly if he does not report to the Bills by Aug 5," said the source. "If he's as adamant as he seems to be about wanting more money he could conceivably wait until then, go back to Philly, and hope they release him making him a free agent, and he can test his value on the open market. It wouldn't shock me if he took that gamble knowing the Bills won't pay him more having never played a down for them."

If the Bills send him back to Philadelphia, Buffalo would receive a 2008 sixth round pick.

So why would the Bills acquire a disgruntled player, who was upset with his current contract, if they had no plans to give him a new deal?

"The teams were doing one another a favor," said the source. "Spikes wanted out and the Bills weren't convinced he'd ever be the same, thereby making him a grossly overpriced player, something Buffalo can't afford to have too many of. The Eagles had a glut of talent at the defensive tackle position and couldn't agree on an extension with Walker, so they wanted to move him. Buffalo protected themselves with a conditional pick if he does not report."

If Walker never plays for the Bills, this will certainly benefit the Jets offensive line.

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