Answers to key questions about future of the Bills

Our NFL columnist John Kryk clears up some key issues about the future of the Buffalo Bills after...

Our NFL columnist John Kryk clears up some key issues about the future of the Buffalo Bills after the passing of founder and owner Ralph Wilson. (Reuters)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:40 PM ET

Some of the chains binding the Buffalo Bills to Ralph Wilson Stadium could raise an ocean liner's anchor.

They're that strong. And numerous.

Western New York was abuzz Tuesday morning over a QMI Agency report saying the odds of the Bills being sold to a Toronto bid group appear remote.

In part, that's because an overlooked clause in the Bills' restrictive stadium lease deal and non-relocation agreement with Erie County and the state of New York prohibits the sale of the NFL franchise to anyone who expresses an intention to relocate the team, at least before its lease at The Ralph expires.

The earliest that could happen is 2020 -- when there's a brief, one-time chance for the team to break the 10-year lease. Yesterday's story should have clearly made that point.

Nevertheless, a prominent sports-franchise consultant on the Atlantic seaboard who is familiar with the pacts said:

* (1) it could be legally argued the sale clause forbids the Bills from selling to a new owner it knows intends to relocate the franchise in the final three years of the 10-year lease, meaning between February 2020 and July 2023;

* (2) the state and county could attempt to seek immediate, injunctive relief against any new owner in breach of this provison, even to block NFL approval of a prospective sale.

That clause aside, there are a slew of other formidable obstacles facing any bid group hoping to relocate the franchise, some of which yesterday's story discussed.


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