(WKBW) - For the first time in 2017, the Buffalo Bills are having to deal with injuries during the regular season that has caused them to re-adjust their roster.
The Bills announced the signing of wide receiver Philly Brown, safety Trae Elston, and safety Shamarko Thomas. To make room, the Bills released defensive end Eric Lee, safety Robert Blanton, and they also placed safety Colt Anderson on injured reserve.
Both Brown and Elston spent the entire summer with the Bills, and each player made the initial 53-man roster after the final cutdown day. Brown, however, was released after the Bills made other moves in the week leading up to the first game of the season.
Elston spent the first two games with the Bills before being released. He was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles, before being released by them on Saturday.
Thomas spent four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before signing with the New York Jets this offseason. The Jets released him as part of their final cuts in 2017, and Thomas has remained a free agent since that point in time.
Joe B's Take
Well, the Bills certainly had to do something at both wide receiver and safety, that's for sure.
With Jordan Matthews out for an unknown amount of time due to thumb surgery, the Bills had to add another body to the wide receiver room -- and they chose familiarity over all else. Brown was not spectacular throughout the summer by any means, but showed an understanding of the offense and was used on special teams -- which will be the most important facet of his game with the team if he is made active on game days.
He won't be a starter, and quite possibly inactive, but he's there as a just-in-case option if they suffer some injuries during the practice week.
The Bills brought back Elston to replace the injured Colt Anderson, which brings the Bills their third-best safety on the roster and the odds-on favorite to go in the game should anything happen to either Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde. They released him for special teams reasoning, but in the meantime, left themselves woefully thin should anything have happened to the two starters.
After two weeks of being a core special teams player, the Bills elected to release the veteran Robert Blanton in favor of Shamarko Thomas. The latter is mostly noted in his time in Pittsburgh for his work on special teams, which will certainly put him in the equation for being active on game day -- should he show an early understanding of special teams coordinator Danny Crossman's system early on this week.
The release of Eric Lee could signal that the Bills are growing more confident in starter Shaq Lawson potentially returning, but we'll learn more about that in the next few days of practice.