Bills have holes to fill at receiver, secondary in free agency

Free agent spending does not equal success (1:32)

Molly Qerim urges teams to build through the draft instead of spending big bucks on free agents. (1:32)

The gale-force winds that slammed the Buffalo area Wednesday were symbolic of the change that is blowing through the Bills' roster this week.

While quarterback Tyrod Taylor remains with the team on a restructured contract, the Bills released four veteran players who contributed in recent seasons -- safety Aaron Williams, wide receiver Marcus Easley, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and kicker Dan Carpenter. They have also allowed cornerback Stephon Gilmore (Patriots), as well as wide receivers Robert Woods (Rams) and Marquise Goodwin (49ers) to leave in free agency.

As the NFL's free-agent signing period officially opens Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, the Bills' decisions have opened glaring needs at three positions: wide receiver, cornerback and safety.

Here is a look at which players remain under contract at each spot:

Wide receiver: Sammy Watkins (signed through 2017 with team option for 2018), Walter Powell (2017), Kolby Listenbee (2019), Dezmin Lewis (2018).

Cornerback: Ronald Darby (2018), Kevon Seymour (2019), Marcus Roberson (2017), Jonathan Dowling (2017), Charles Gaines (2018).

Safety: Corey Graham (2017), Colt Anderson (2017), Shamiel Gary (2018), Joe Powell (2018).

The Bills can turn to the draft at any of these positions, where there is expected to be ample talent available. They could also address their needs as free agency progresses in the coming days.

How much salary-cap space the Bills have remaining will depend on details of contracts that are expected to consummated Thursday or later this week for kicker Steven Hauschka, fullbacks Patrick DiMarco and Mike Tolbert and offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse.