Veteran CB James among notable cuts by Bills
James, who signed a two-year contract in March, had a solid training camp as Buffalo's nickel cornerback, but proved to be the odd man out.
Instead, Buffalo kept Ashton Youboty as part of a deep defensive backfield that will also include two rookies: first-round draft pick Leodis McKelvin and fourth-rounder Reggie Corner, playing behind starters Terrence McGee and Jabari Greer.
Youboty, the Bills' 2006 third-round draft pick, opened training camp on the bubble after two disappointing years, but had a solid preseason in which he finished with a team-leading two interceptions and a sack.
James, formerly known as Will Peterson, spent the past two seasons with Philadelphia and was attempting a comeback after he had been bothered by chronic back problems.
The cuts came as the Bills reduced their roster to an NFL-maximum 53 players in preparation for their season opener against Seattle next weekend.
Among the other notable players released by the Bills were running back Dwayne Wright, Buffalo's 2007 fourth-round draft pick who appeared in 14 games last season, and linebacker Donnie Spragan, a seven-year NFL veteran who signed with Buffalo earlier this month after rookie Alvin Bowen sustained a season-ending knee injury.
Wright's release came after he had three fumbles in four preseason games. He was beaten out for the No. 3 job by Xavier Omon, the rookie sixth-round pick, who had team-leading 109 yards rushing and a touchdown in four preseason games.
The Bills kept only three tight ends after cutting veterans Courtney Anderson and Tim Massaquoi, who both signed as free agents this offseason. That leaves the team little depth behind starter Robert Royal as backups. Derek Fine and Derek Schouman are both nursing injuries.
Fine, a rookie fourth-round pick, is out indefinitely after he had surgery to repair an injured thumb last week. Schouman is expected to resume practicing soon after missing two weeks with a knee injury.
Buffalo also kept four offensive tackles, including rookie seventh-round pick Demetrius Bell and backup Matt Murphy, who has missed three weeks with a partially separated left rotator cuff. By making the team, Murphy is expected to hold off having surgery until after this season.
The Bills have no experience at tackle behind starters Langston Walker and Kirk Chambers, because Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters remains on the team's reserve-did not report list because of the player's ongoing holdout over a contract dispute. Peters wants the final three years of his contract restructured and has been fined more than $15,000 for each day he's missed since training camp opened July 25.
That penalty will rise significantly this week, when Peters would begin losing more than $191,000 -- or one-seventeenth of his $3.25 million base salary -- for each week he misses during the regular season.
Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon said Thursday he'd had no contact with Peters this summer. The Bills aren't budging from their position of demanding Peters play this year under his existing deal before they consider opening talks in the offseason.
Peters and his agent, Eugene Parker, have not commented on the holdout, leaving it unclear as to when the player might report to the team.
Also released by the Bills were linebackers Jon Banks, Marcus Buggs and Blake Costanzo; offensive linemen Dustin Dickinson, Patrick Estes, Robert Felton, Christian Gaddis and Nevin McCaskill; defensive linemen Jason Jefferson, Derrick Jones, Corey Mace and Teraz McCray; running backs Jonathan Evans and Bruce Hall; cornerback Dustin Fox and receiver Felton Huggins.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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