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Moulds rejects Bills' offer to restructure deal

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Feb. 27, 2006) -- Eric Moulds rejected the Buffalo Bills' offer for restructuring his hefty contract, a decision that could lead the team to release its veteran star receiver by as early as this week.

"Based on what they're proposing, I guess it's not encouraging," Moulds' agent Harry Henderson told The Associated Press by telephone following a meeting with team officials. "We're way off. ... Our attitude has been optimistic, but realistically it may not happen."

Moulds, a 10-year veteran and the team's senior player, has two years left on his contract, scheduled to count $10.85 million against the salary cap next season. His salary would represent about one-ninth of the projected cap, a figure the Bills deem far too expensive.

Unless a new deal can be reached, the Bills would have little choice but to cut Moulds, which would save the team about $5.5 million in cap room. His release could come as early as this week, prior to the NFL's free-agency period, which is scheduled to open March 3. The Bills declined comment except to confirm that a meeting took place between the team and Moulds' representatives.

Buffalo's first-round pick in the 1996 draft, Moulds is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and ranks second on the team in several career receiving categories.

Henderson said no further talks are scheduled but added he is open to negotiations and would like to cooperate with the team in an attempt to keep Moulds in Buffalo. Henderson wouldn't provide details of the Bills' offer or what his client would be willing to accept.

"We're open," he said. "Good football teams find ways to keep their best players."

Henderson wouldn't entirely rule out Moulds accepting a pay cut, but said: "Eric is under contract so we have a deal. It's the Bills that want to change."

Moulds is coming off a down season but still led the team with 81 catches for 816 yards in 15 games. He was suspended for one game by former coach Mike Mularkey for conduct detrimental to the team after an apparent sideline dispute with an assistant coach.

The suspension, which came in Week 14, didn't affect Moulds' performance down the stretch. He returned in top form, finishing with 27 catches for 305 yards and a touchdown in the final three games.

Dick Jauron has taken over as coach following Mularkey's sudden resignation last month, while Marv Levy is the Bills' new general manager replacing Tom Donahoe. Both previously expressed hope the team could reach a deal to keep Moulds.

Moulds has been a full-time starter since his third season in Buffalo. In 154 games, he has 675 catches for 9,096 yards and 48 touchdowns. Only Andre Reed has more catches (941) and yards (13,095) among Bills receivers.

The Bills offense struggled last season, contributing to the team's 5-11 finish.

Buffalo gained 4,122 yards, a franchise low in a 16-game season. The team's six touchdowns rushing, 1,607 yards rushing and 2,515 yards passing were all the second fewest for a 16-game season.

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