Buffalo Bills Re-Sign Erik Pears: Is Stevie Johnson Next in Line?

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IDecember 14, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Erik Pears #79 of the Buffalo Bills in action against the New York Jets during their game on November 27, 2011 at  MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills have reportedly agreed to terms on a long-term contract with veteran right tackle Erik Pears, according to the team's website, buffalobills.com. Pears was an undrafted free agent in 2005, before being picked up by the Denver Broncos

Pears has been a consistent factor in the Bills' strong pass protection this season, as the unit has allowed the fewest numbers of sacks in the entire National Football League, with 17.

At 6'8", Pears has the long arms and length you look for in a tackle, and the signing brings continuity to a position group that hasn't had it in quite some time. Tackle Demetrius Bell is slated to become a free agent at season's end, and rookie Chris Hairston out of Clemson has been rotating at the left tackle position. 

The Bills' front office has proven to be active during the season, signing Chris Kelsay and Kyle Williams to long-term deals last season and making Ryan Fitzpatrick the clear-cut franchise quarterback this year after signing him to a six-year, $59 million deal weeks ago. 

Buffalo has quite a few upcoming unrestricted free agents, most notably wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson has led the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns for the past two seasons and should be the next to sign on the dotted line. The 25-year-old could be coveted by various teams due to his production as both a No. 1 and No. 2 receiving option.

Another upcoming free agent the Bills may look to lock up long term is tight end Scott Chandler. Chandler has been a surprise and appears to be the receiving and blocking tight end that Bills fans have longed for for years.