The Buffalo Bills officially released Eric Wood on Thursday, a procedural move that comes months after it was announced the veteran center's playing career was over because of a neck injury.
The timing of the move is significant. By releasing Wood before June 1, the Bills actually take a bigger hit on the salary cap than they would have if he played this season, but guarantee that he will be off the books in 2019, when the team's cap situation will be much more favorable.
Wood was scheduled to count $8.875 million against the salary cap in 2018 had he played, but that figure will now be $10.391 million, according to contracts website spotrac.com.
Wood and the Bills reportedly agreed on an injury settlement, which comes after an exit physical revealed a neck condition that, even with treatment or surgery, leaves him unable to play again. Because of the money still owed to him, Wood held off on officially retiring, which could have let the Bills try and recoup some of his bonuses. That led to an awkward "press conference" in the team's fieldhouse that started nearly an hour late and saw Wood read a prepared statement without taking any questions.
A former team captain who became a fan favorite over his nine seasons with the Bills, Wood came to be known as much for his tireless work off the field as for his contributions on it.
The man primarily in charge of developing Josh Allen into a franchise quarterback gave an update on the rookie’s progress Thursday.
"I've been doing this a long time with rookies at all different positions," offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said. "It’s such a learning experience for all the rookies, whether it’s a quarterback, running back, tight end. Not only are they coming to a new system and having to adapt and learn an offensive system, they have to learn the people in the building, they have to find a place to live, they have so many different things. I think Josh is a mature guy who’s handled his responsibilities the right way. He comes in everyday, works hard and proves (himself), listens to the veterans, listens to the coaches. If he makes a mistake one day, works really hard trying to fix it the next day. He has the right attitude."
Allen remained with the third string at Thursday's practice, the sixth of the spring.
"He gets enough opportunity to keep on advancing and progressing in the system, continue in terms of scripting of giving him different plays, putting him in different situations," Daboll said. "With any young guy, that’s what you need to do in terms of building him from ground level."
The Bills installed their two-minute offense during Thursday's practice. During Allen's first crack at it, he threw an ugly interception to quarterback Breon Borders on a third-down play.
Allen made amends on his second attempt. Starting from the 30-yard line, he moved the chains with a 20-yard completion to undrafted rookie receiver Robert Foster. Another completion to Foster set up a first-and-goal with 14 seconds left. Allen then connected with Cam Phillips for a touchdown with just 5 seconds left.
AJ McCarron got the starting quarterback reps Thursday. He led the offense to the defense's 20-yard line on his two-minute situation, but the drive stalled there. On a fourth-down play, McCarron threw incomplete to the back of the end zone.
Nathan Peterman then got a turn. He also drove the offense to the red zone, but safety Dean Marlowe broke up a pass intended for tight end Khari Lee in the end zone as time expired.
The Bills announced that tight end Logan Thomas had knee surgery and will be out for the remainder of the spring. Thomas joins wide receiver Zay Jones, who also had knee surgery, on the injured list. The only other player not accounted for Thursday was defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi. ... Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and cornerback Vontae Davis were on the field. Both players weren't in attendance at last week's practice that was open to the media.
Story topics: Eric Wood