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BILLS READY BIG OFFER TO MOULDS

The Buffalo Bills are preparing to offer free agent Eric Moulds a new contract that would make him the one of the NFL's highest paid wide receivers, the Buffalo News has learned.

Greg Johnson, one of Moulds' New Orleans-based agents, said Saturday the two sides are "very close" to coming to terms on a new deal.

"It's just a matter of working out a couple of details," Johnson said from Hawaii, where Moulds is starting in the Pro Bowl today. "I think it's a win-win situation for everybody."

Johnson would not comment on the contract, but league sources said the Bills' offer is a six-year deal worth between $58 and $60 million dollars.

Most of the contract is heavily backloaded with incentives, but Moulds' base salary could average close to $7 million.

Tampa Bay's Keyshawn Johnson is the highest-paid receiver, signing an eight-year, $56 million contract after his trade from the New York Jets. The deal included a $13 million signing bonus.

It's not known how much bonus money Moulds would get, but sources said Moulds was seeking something in the $12 million to $13 million range.

Of course, the Bills must first contend with their salary cap problems. They are believed to be more than $13 million over the 2001 limit of $67.4 million. President and General Manager Tom Donahoe will have to rework a number of contracts in order to find the money to sign Moulds.

The fact that the parameters of a new deal is in place is a good sign the Bills will be able to retain Moulds, who would be the most sought-after free agent on the open market. A new deal also would mean the Bills won't have to use a franchise-player label on Moulds.

Moulds, 27, is coming off a season in which he set a franchise record with 94 catches, fourth-best in the AFC.

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