The Buffalo Bills reversed course in a big way Tuesday, releasing veteran defensive end Mark Anderson just five days before the start of training camp.
Anderson, 30, ends his Bills career having played only one season for the team after signing a four-year contract worth potentially $19.5 million in March 2012. He played in just five games in the first season of that deal, making one sack, before a knee injury caused him to miss the rest of the year. He revealed toward the end of the season that the injury was a torn lateral meniscus, which necessitated two surgeries.
Anderson practiced on a limited basis in the spring, indicating the injury still had not healed to either his or the team’s liking. The official transaction announcing his release, however, makes no mention of the injury.
For his one season, Anderson received $8.1 million, making him an expensive free agent bust under former General Manager Buddy Nix. Anderson received a $6 million signing bonus, and his 2012 base salary of $1.9 million was guaranteed. He also was paid $100,000 workout bonuses last year and this season.
The Bills will carry $1.6 million on the 2013 salary cap in “dead money” – the guaranteed portion of Anderson’s signing bonus prorated over the four years of his contract, plus the workout bonus. There will be a $3 million dead cap hit in 2014, accounting for the remaining two years of signing bonus money on the contract.
Jerry Hughes and Jamie Blatnick will compete for time as situational pass rushers. Hughes was acquired from Indianapolis for inside linebacker Kelvin Sheppard. Blatnick was signed as a free agent in April.
Additionally, the Bills placed offensive tackle Chris Hairston on the active/physically unable to perform list Tuesday. Hairston missed most of spring practices with what the team’s official website listed as a lower body injury. An ankle injury ended his last season.
The 24-year-old can come off the list when he is cleared to practice, but could find himself behind Erik Pears for the starting right tackle job.