Bills sign RG Urbik to 4-year contract extension

JOHN WAWROW AP Sports Writer Published:

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- The Buffalo Bills took the first step in securing their offensive line's long-term future by signing starting right guard Kraig Urbik to a four-year contract extension on Tuesday.

The deal locks up Urbik through 2016 and is worth $13.3 million, including a $3.5 million signing bonus for this season, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the team did not reveal the length or monetary terms of the contract.

It's a significant raise for a fourth-year player, who had signed a $1.26 million contract tender in April. Urbik is set to make a base salary of $2.05 million next year and $2.9 million in 2016, the person said. He's also eligible to make additional money through roster and workout bonuses, and playing-time incentives.

Urbik is completing his third year with the Bills, who claimed him off waivers in September 2010 after he was released by Pittsburgh. The Steelers had selected Urbik in the third round out of Wisconsin in the 2009 draft.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 324 pounds, Urbik has provided a steadying and versatile presence since moving into a starting role last season. He's played both guard and center, and has 26 starts -- including 11 this season -- in 34 games with Buffalo.

The signing came with Buffalo (5-9) set to close out its season with two meaningless games after being eliminated from playoff contention for a 13th straight year. The Bills play at Miami (6-8) on Sunday, and then host New York Jets (6-8) on Dec. 30.

Later in the day, the Bills made a number of roster moves, including placing starting receiver Donald Jones on the reserve/non-football illness list. The Bills did not reveal the nature of the illness.

Jones' agent, Cliff LaBoy, said the illness is not serious, and is related to a calf injury that forced his client to miss two of the past three games. Jones first began experiencing tightness in his calf last month, and was held out of a 34-18 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 2.

Jones is third on the team with 41 catches for 443 yards and four touchdowns.

His injury further depletes the Bills at receiver. Coach Chan Gailey has already ruled out reserve Marcus Easley from playing this weekend after he hurt a hamstring in a 50-17 loss to Seattle on Sunday.

The Bills also placed reserve linebacker Arthur Moats on season-ending injured reserve after he hurt his ankle last weekend.

Buffalo filled the two open roster spots by promoting receiver Chris Hogan and linebacker Greg Lloyd from its practice squad.

With Urbik locked up, the Bills can now turn their attention on securing two more starting linemen.

Left guard Andy Levitre, who has been the line's most consistent player, is completing the final year of his contract. Center Eric Wood has one year left on his deal.

Though open to re-signing with the Bills, Levitre said last week that he was unaware of any contract talks taking place.

The Bills have spent the past three seasons revamping their line, which also includes left tackle, Cordy Glenn, a rookie second-round pick.

The line allowed an AFC-low 23 sacks last season and helped the Bills finish with 1,921 yards rushing -- the team's highest total since 2000. This season, the Bills are tied for seventh in the AFC with 28 sacks, and feature the NFL's sixth best rushing attack.

The Bills have also been in negotiations to re-sign starting safety Jairus Byrd, who is in the final year of his contract. With five interceptions, Byrd is tied for the AFC lead and is tied for seventh in the NFL. He's also forced three fumbles and recovered two.

Buffalo filled its two practice squad openings by signing receiver Kevin Elliott and linebacker Brian Smith. Elliott had 10 catches for 108 yards in 13 games with Jacksonville before being released last weekend. Smith played two games with Cleveland last season.

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