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How Bills got to the 53-man roster on cut-down day

How Bills got to the 53-man roster on cut-down day

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Buffalo Bills practice (copy)

Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Bills owner Terry Pegula trimmed the roster down to 53 players Saturday.

The Buffalo Bills have set their initial 53-man roster. 

Use pencil when filling it out, though, as there figures to be at least a few changes made before next Sunday's season opener against the New York Jets.

The Bills released a total of 24 players Saturday to reach the 53-man limit. Players with less than four years of experience who are waived must go through waivers, meaning they can be claimed by another team. Those players with four or more years of experience who are released can be signed by another team immediately. Here is a look at how waivers work and the new practice squad rules. 

Here is the complete rundown of those released Saturday.

- Quarterback Davis Webb

The Bills plan to re-sign the quarterback to the practice squad if he clears waivers, a league source told The Buffalo News. The Bills kept three quarterbacks on the active roster -- Josh Allen, Matt Barkley and rookie Jake Fromm.

- Wide receiver Robert Foster 

Foster was reportedly being shopped on the trade market Friday and Saturday, but the Bills evidently were unable to find a partner, so they released the former undrafted free agent who had a promising rookie season in 2018, but was unable to build on that last season.

- Cornerback Dane Jackson

The only one of the team's 2020 draft picks to be released, Jackson provided depth behind Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace and Josh Norman at outside cornerback. With Wallace and Norman currently dealing with hamstring injuries, Jackson's release would seem to indicate the team is not overly concerned about their availability.

- Cornerback Brian Allen

Allen was signed as depth during training camp, leaving him little time to make an impression on the coaching staff.

- Tight end Nate Becker

Becker spent much of last season on the practice squad after being initially released in September. He's eligible for a similar role this season.

- Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor

Taylor was the second-biggest defensive tackle on the roster, so he could be added to the practice squad and promoted on weeks the run defense needs added support.

- Offensive lineman Brandon Walton

The Bills have an interest in bringing Walton back to the practice squad should he clear waivers, a league source tells The News.

- Defensive end Bryan Cox Jr.

The Bills are interested in signing Cox to their practice squad if he clears waivers, a league source told The News.

- Defensive tackle Tanzel Smart 

Smart was signed after Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei opted out of the 2020 season.

- Defensive tackle Justin Zimmer

Like Smart, Zimmer was added after Lotulelei opted out, but still fell victim to a numbers game at a deep position.

- Wide receiver Duke Williams

It was going to be tough for Williams to make the 53-man roster after the team used a pair of draft picks at the position. Both Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins made the 53-man roster.

- Cornerback Cam Lewis

The University at Buffalo product is a candidate for the practice squad after spending most of last season there.
 
- Safety Josh Thomas
 
Undrafted rookie free agent from Appalachian State could be a practice squad option. The Bills currently have just three active safeties on the roster.
 
- Defensive end Mike Love
 
The South Florida product spent last season on injured reserve, but fell victim to a numbers game at what is a deep position for the Bills.
 
- Offensive tackle Victor Salako
 
Salako, who was with his fifth NFL team, spent most of last season on the Bills' practice squad. 
 
- Safety Dean Marlowe
 
A league source told The News that the Bills plan to re-sign Marlowe to the 53-man roster, possibly as soon as Sunday. Marlowe is expected to serve as the No. 3 safety behind starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.
 
- Wide receiver Andre Roberts 
 
Likewise, the Bills plan to re-sign Roberts, a league source told The News. The Bills are expected to place offensive guard Jon Feliciano on injured reserve, which would open one roster spot. The team would also need to place another player on IR to re-sign both Roberts and Marlowe.

- Offensive lineman Marquel Harrell

The Bills have sufficient depth along the offensive line, which made things tough for the rookie undrafted free agent from Auburn.

- Running back Antonio Williams

Williams, an undrafted rookie free agent from North Carolina, was originally waived Aug. 5 and re-signed with the team this week. He's another practice squad option. 

- Tight end Jason Croom

Croom's name popped up Friday night as a potential trade option, but the Bills opted to let him go Saturday. He spent last season on injured reserve and could be a practice squad option. 
 
- Linebacker Andre Smith
 
The Bills traded for Smith earlier in the week, sending a conditional 2023 seventh-round draft pick to Carolina. Given that Smith did not make the 53-man roster, it's unlikely that the conditions of that trade were met.
 
- Offensive tackle Trey Adams
 
The rookie undrafted free agent from Washington appeared to struggle with NFL speed during training camp.
 
- Running back Christian Wade
 
Wade is eligible for an exempt spot on the Bills' practice squad for a second straight year as a member of the International Player Pathway program.
 
- Offensive lineman Evan Boehm
 
One of the few "surprise" cuts, Boehm provided depth behind starting center Mitch Morse.
 
Of those released Saturday, Roberts, Boehm, Cox, Marlowe, Smart and Taylor immediately become free agents because they have at least four years of NFL experience. The rest have to clear waivers. Several players released Saturday may stay in the organization. The Bills can begin to fill out their practice squad after players have passed through waivers Sunday. This season, practice squads in the NFL have expanded from 10 to 16 players.
 
Friday's moves 

Fullback Patrick DiMarco was placed on injured reserve.

Linebackers Vosean Joseph and Corey Thompson were released.

Tight end Tommy Sweeney was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list. He did not practice during training camp. He will be out for at least the first six weeks of the regular season. 

 

 

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News Sports Reporter

I started at The Buffalo News in 2009, and have previously been honored as one of the top 10 beat writers in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors for my coverage of the Bills. I live in Amherst with my wife, Melissa, and son, Elliott.

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