Wide receiver Eric Moulds is expected to be an ex-Buffalo Bill by the end of the week.
The last link to the Marv Levy head coaching era, Moulds will likely be released after a last-ditch effort to resolve issues with his contract failed Monday.
The Bills need salary cap space and want Moulds to take a significant pay cut because he is scheduled to count $10.85 million against the 2006 salary cap. Moulds' representatives, Harry Henderson and Greg Johnson, discussed the matter with Jim Overdorf, the Bills' vice president of football operations and lead contract negotiator, over the telephone.
The Bills had said keeping Moulds was a priority, but Monday was the first meaningful conversation between the two sides. Because the meeting did not yield positive results, Henderson and Johnson expect Moulds to be released either Wednesday or Thursday.
Cutting Moulds would save the Bills about $5.5 million against the cap. He would still count $5.3 million on the 2006 books. The new cap year begins Friday.
"We are happy that there was some form of communication," Johnson said by phone. "Unfortunately the talks that we had just didn't make a whole lot of sense for us. We were optimistic about it because we would like something to happen. But we don't know how realistic it is to be optimistic about it. I don't see anything good coming out of this right now."
Bills officials had no comment other than confirming they spoke to Moulds' agents.
Henderson told The Buffalo News last Saturday that Moulds would not accept a pay cut. He and Johnson decided to speak to the Bills brass anyway to see if a compromise could be reached. But they said there is little chance of that happening, given the Bills' demands.
In Moulds, the Bills would lose a player who ranks second on the team's career list in catches and yards. It also would increase the likelihood of them adding a receiver or two in free agency or the draft. Josh Reed is set to become a free agent on Friday and will be able to sign elsewhere.
"I think good football teams find a way to keep good players," Henderson said. "Based on the reduction they asked for, these efforts are not the way you keep your best players. The proposal today is just way off."
"We respect the Buffalo Bills and we are not trying to negotiate a contract through the media," Johnson added. "That's never been our style. But we can't go forward with this. It doesn't make sense for us right now."