ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- In less than eight months, veteran defensive tackle Alan Branch had quite the fall.
Signed to a three-year extension last December that included a $3.1 million signing bonus, Branch's status with the team gradually slipped through the spring and summer. The combination of not showing up to voluntary OTAs, reporting to training camp out of shape, and not making a stronger push for a role in the preseason may have doomed his fate even before he was arrested for drunk driving last weekend.
"A lot of things factor into decision, don’t get me wrong, but that main factor was performance. Not even close," coach Doug Marrone said Monday. "Of all the players, we wished him well. Hopefully it changes for him, but at the end of the day, the decisions for players not to be here are based on them not being able to help us win. And there are a lot of different reasons for that."
The Bills don't lose much on the field with Branch, as his chances of making the 53-man roster seemed to have dwindled over recent weeks. However, in making the decision to cut Branch, Bills management had to swallow their pride after giving $3.1 million to a player who will won't play a down for the team this season.
"The one thing we don’t want to do is just to hold on to people just to make ourselves look right,” general manager Doug Whaley told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Monday. “That’s a lesson we’ve learned. Hey, let’s cut bait and move on."