The Buffalo Bills released five players ahead of free agency.
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The team announced it cut kicker Dan Carpenter, corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, safety Phillip Thomas, tight end Gerald Christian jersey and long snapper Garrison Sanborn jersey.
The moves save the Bills around $6 million of salary-cap space.
Carpenter spent the past four years in Buffalo, but his increasing struggles have made him a target of the local fans’ ire. Carpenter missed 11 extra-point attempts over the last two seasons — when the NFL moved back PATs — and nine field goals over that same span.
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NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Bills tried to trade Robey-Coleman, who signed a three-year, $4.685 million contract in 2015 but failed to find a swapping partner. Cutting the slot corner is the most surprising of the five players jettisoned. Releasing Robey-Coleman saves the Bills just $1.65 million in cap space. The 25-year-old should find a home in a market where slot corners are in demand.
Buffalo officially signed former Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes on Saturday. His deal is worth $6.5 million over three years, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source.
In four seasons in Oakland, Holmes compiled 1,451 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Following a breakout 2014 campaign during which he started 13 games, Holmes saw his production drop off in ’15 and ’16 when Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree jerseys ate up his targets.
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As the Bills’ roster stands right now, Holmes has an opportunity to be a WR2 behind Sammy Watkins, but expect Buffalo to go after the position in the draft after losing Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin in free agency.
While there are faults in Taylor’s play — i.e. some coaching frustrations with the QB’s inability to consistently target the entire field, particularly over the middle — the lack of other options could keep him in Buffalo. Tony Romo likely wouldn’t want to play for a rebuilding team, Jay Cutler is a coach killer, Nick Foles is painful to watch, the draft is roundly criticized for its lack of first-round talent at the position, and the Bills have no credible in-house candidate to take over this year.
Rapoport previously reported that the Bills and Taylor could re-do his contract to smooth out some of the salary-cap issues without the QB taking a pay cut.
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Taylor’s recovery is going as expected and he’s healthy, a source informed of the situation told Rapoport. In addition, a Bills team source told ESPN that the quarterback has been “medically cleared.” The citation that it’s from a team source, (as opposed to a representative of Taylor) is notable in this case. When Taylor underwent surgery, the team sent out a statement saying the quarterback “elected to have surgery.” Now the team appears to be claiming he’s healthy, which could set up a battle if Buffalo decides to move on.
Of course, if the Bills keep Taylor, as Rapoport said is more likely at this stage, that whole paragraph becomes moot.
While other quarterback situations could linger into the summer months, we’ll know whether the Bills are committed to Taylor before St. Patrick’s Day.
Oh, hey, look, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day.