Bills GM: Anderson healthy upon release

PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley said Saturday that the team's surprising move to release defensive end Mark Anderson on Tuesday was not due to injury.

"He was released healthy," Whaley said. "He signed off, and we thought it was the best opportunity for him to get out and hopefully get another job at this time with camp starting."

Anderson signed a four-year, $19.5 million contract in March 2012. A knee injury limited him to just five games last season.

Under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Anderson, 30, was expected to contribute as a pass-rusher alongside defensive end Mario Williams. In 2011, Anderson had 10 sacks as a member of the New England Patriots.

"We feel that we have some good young players there," head coach Doug Marrone said Saturday. "Jerry Hughes, [Jamie] Blatnick, also [Kourtnei] Brown. We feel very comfortable about how that position is going to develop and we’re excited for all those guys."

"We think that the competition will make people better and it makes the cream rise to the top," Whaley said. "Before Mario [Williams] was in the league, he didn't have any sacks. This is going to give guys the opportunity to show what they have and maybe become the next Mario."

Hughes, a former first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts in 2010, could most benefit from Anderson's release. Last season, Hughes started six games and had a career-high four sacks. He was traded to Buffalo in April.

"We are very excited about Jerry," Whaley said. "He was a high pick and we think that this fresh start will be good for him and a bonus to us."

Meanwhile, Anderson remains a free agent four days after his release.