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Eric Moulds signs long-term deal

BUFFALO, Feb. 16 -- Eric Moulds, who had been eligible for unrestricted free agency next month, signed a six-year contract with the Buffalo Bills Friday that reportedly will make him among the highest-paid receivers in the NFL.

"I could have gone on the free agent market, but I wanted to be part of something big with the Buffalo Bills," Moulds said. "I always wanted to remain a Buffalo Bill."

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Financial terms were not disclosed, but CBS SportsLine.com reported the deal is worth at least $42 million with a signing bonus of $12 million.

Keyshawn Johnson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the league's highest-paid receiver, signing an eight-year, $56 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last April after being acquired from the New York Jets.

The big-money deal for Moulds will force the Bills to decide between either Rob Johnson or Doug Flutie at quarterback. Already approximately $10 million over the cap before coming to trms with Moulds, the Bills likely will trade or release one of the quarterbacks. Flutie is scheduled to make $7.75 million in 2001 and Johnson is set to earn $8.29 million.

"I always said that we can win with both of those guys," Moulds said. "That's not my decision to make."

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Moulds, 27, a two-time Pro Bowler, set a club record with 94 catches for 1,326 yards and five touchdowns last season.

The signing of Moulds was among the first major moves for new general manager Tom Donahoe, who hired Gregg Williams as coach earlier this month.

"He's become one of the most productive players in the league," Donahoe said of Moulds. "He's a difference maker who can flourish in our offense."

A first-round pick of the Bills out of Mississippi State in 1996, Moulds became a full-time starter in 1998 and has compiled 226 receptions for 3,688 yards over the last three seasons.

After recording 49 receptions for 573 yards in his first two seasons combined, Moulds had 67 catches for a club-record 1,368 yards, an average of 20.4 yards per reception, in 1998.

The 6-2, 204-pounder missed two games due to a pulled left hamstring in 1999 and finished with 65 catches for 994 yards and seven touchdowns.

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