"There currently are no active discussions regarding a contract extension for Ryan [Zimmerman]," agent Brodie Van Wagenen told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Kilgore explains that while the sides have had informal dialogue, no specifics or proposals have been exchanged. Meanwhile Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, "It’s important to us. We’ve already begun preliminary discussions with his people. He’s an important piece for us, a guy that we would like to have here long-term." Though the statements appear conflicting, it's probably just a difference of opinion over the technical definition of "discussions."
Certainly, both sides have the same goal of a long-term extension. Zimmerman is eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, so he's not as close as Matt Kemp was but closer than Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Braun. As Kilgore explains, Zimmerman wants a deal by spring training 2013 so as to avoid distractions during that season.
Zimmerman said in August he wants a contract longer than five years, and seven or eight seems likely. The big question is if the two sides can agree on how Zimmerman's injury history should be factored in.