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Bills sign RB Jackson

Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson has struck a two-year contract extension that keeps him tied to the team through 2014.

The deal was announced today at One Bills Drive. Jackson was entering the final year of a contract he signed in May 2009.

Jackson, 31, rushed for 934 yards in just 10 games last season before being lost for the season with a fractured fibula. At the time of his injury, his 1,376 yards from scrimmage ranked second in the NFL. Jackson accounted for 40 percent of the Bills’ offense the first 10 games.

"I'm excited because I feel like something special is about to go down and I want to be a part of it," Jackson said. "I've always said I wanted to be here, now I have the opportunity to be here."

"He is a huge piece of the puzzle for us," said Bills General Manager Buddy Nix. "We always said we want to try to keep our good players, and we've done it again today, with what we think is one of the best backs in the league."

Jackson's average salary more than doubles during the two-year extension, rising to about $4.5 million a year. It could go up to about $11 million for the two new years if he hits all incentives. Jackson has produced three straight outstanding seasons for the Bills. In 2010 he rushed for 927 yards and caught 215 yards in passes. In 2009, he rushed for 1,062 yards and caught 371 yards in passes.

Last season, Jackson led all NFL running backs in yards per carry, at 5.49 yards an attempt. That was the best total by a Bills running back since O.J. Simpson averaged 5.52 a carry in 1975.

Jackson was playing under a four-year deal that averaged $1.87 million a year. Jackson was an exclusive-rights free agent at the time he signed that deal, which meant he had little leverage in negotiations. The deal also was stuck with the NFL staring at the prospect of a lockout in 2011 that could have wiped out a full season. Had that happened, Jackson still might not have been an unrestricted free agent coming out of the lockout. He felt pressured by the circumstances to strike a deal, and he never was fully satisfied with it. Jackson wound up signing with a new agent, Buffalo-based Ron Raccuia, and he negotiated the new contract.

---Mark Gaughan



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