The Buffalo Bills brought back quarterback Matt Cassel on Tuesday, releasing rookie tight end Nick O'Leary.
And soon after the announcement was made, coach Rex Ryan said Cassel will be the team's No. 2 quarterback with EJ Manuel as the No. 3.
By cutting Cassel, and then signing him, the Bills were able to retain the veteran at their price. In short, the Bills chose Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback and didn't want to pay their back-up his $4.15 million base salary. Possibly, they were able to retain Cassel at the veteran minimum.
"For your depth chart purposes Matt will be two, EJ will be three," Ryan said. "As I have said from Day One, we like all three of the guys and we never want to lose anybody, obviously. So that is why we made the decision we did."
"Those three guys, they work in concert with each other that is important I think, in all those types of things. They push each other, yet they are there for each other, they watch tape together. It is really a unique deal because sometimes when you get competition, especially three guys going, sometimes it is not always like that."
The Bills had signed quarterback Alex Tanney to the practice squad on Monday, but he was not in attendance at practice Tuesday.
Cassel has started 71 games in his NFL career, going 33-38. His two best seasons were in 2008 (New England) and 2010 (Kansas City). Originally acquired via trade from the Minnesota Vikings, he had been competing with Taylor and EJ Manuel for the No. 1 job through OTAs, minicamp and training camp. Now, the Bills bring back a veteran Plan B behind Taylor and Manuel will likely be running scout-team looks for the Bills.
Players and coaches are scheduled to speak later Tuesday.
At practice Tuesday, linebackers Manny Lawson and Tony Steward (MCL) were not spotted. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was present, but not practicing, while Chris Hogan (knee) did practice during the portion open to reporters.
The Bills also announced that they've signed cornerback Merrill Noel to the practice squad.