The Buffalo Bills took their time in making the first big roster decisions of the 2016 season, but just under the 4 pm deadline set by the National Football League, the team has made 15 roster transactions to get their roster down to the new maximum limit of 75. The Bills used all 90 of their players right through the final practice on Tuesday afternoon before making their decisions known.
With the first day to make roster decisions, the Bills have elected to put some of their injured players on the long-term injured lists. Second-round pick and rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland (torn ACL) was put on injured reserve, while both outside linebacker Shaq Lawson (shoulder) and wide receiver Marcus Easley (knee) were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List.
Additionally, the Bills put wide receiver Kolby Listenbee on the non-football injury list, and waived/injured tight end Chris Gragg, cornerback Jonathan Dowling, and offensive tackle. The Bills also acquired linebacker Lerentee McCray, as well.
So, with all the moves, the Bills only had to release nine players on Tuesday. A list of the other players released from the roster, including analysis of each player that the Bills cut from their team.
WR Greg Little
- The biggest name on the list of the initial cuts, Greg Little was let go ahead of players like Walt Powell, Jarrett Boykin, and Dez Lewis, which must mean one thing: the final wide receivers kept on the roster must play a role on special teams. Little was a non-factor on special teams, only getting two snaps in that phase of the game. He's a physical wide receiver, but had too many inconsistencies with his hands throughout the summer.
OLB Eric Striker
- Fans may be a bit thrown off by Eric Striker being one of the players first released from the roster, but it's been a long time coming after how far down the depth chart he's gone. In the first week of training camp, Striker was the story of the day by catapulting up to get first-team reps on defense during one practice. That was the last we saw of that, as Striker slowly went to the second-team, then to scout team, and he barely even got on the field against Washington (three total defensive snaps). An undersized player, Striker just couldn't acclimate himself to the pro game as due to his limitations.
ILB David Hawthorne
- The Bills brought in David Hawthorne along with Brandon Spikes right when they found out about Reggie Ragland's potentially serious knee injury. Spikes has fit in quite well with everyone else on the Bills roster, while Hawthorne has really struggled to get on the same page. Playing only at weakside inside linebacker, Hawthorne struggled mightily in coverage both in training camp and during the preseason -- getting beat by Jordan Reed for a big touchdown in Washington. Hawthorne is a bigger name, but his play did not indicate he was worthy of a roster spot.
DL Justin Zimmer
- This was also a bit of a surprise, considering just how well Justin Zimmer was performing well during training camp. It seemed as though he was a clear candidate for the practice squad, but the Bills let him go earlier than many -- including myself -- expected them to. Zimmer is a bit undersized and a more natural nose tackle in this defensive scheme, but he was getting into the backfield. The writing was a bit on the wall for him, though, after only receiving four defensive snaps against Washington last Friday. Even though he's one of the first cuts, I wouldn't rule him out as a potential practice squad player.
DL Alameda Ta'amu
- Alameda Ta'amu was a late addition in training camp a little before the Marcell Dareus news came down about his four-game suspension. Ta'amu was clearly behind plenty of other players along the defensive line, not getting a lot of time either in practice or in the games this summer. Ta'amu was a bigger body best suited at nose tackle, and likely on one of his final opportunities to crack an NFL roster.
TE Jimmay Mundine
- The Bills have struggled at tight end past Charles Clay and Chris Gragg, and even with Gragg suffering a season-ending injury, it wasn't enough to keep Jimmay Mundine's roster dream alive with the Bills. Mundine was an addition during training camp and is built more like a fullback. He was just a really undersized tight end that didn't make many big plays during practice. This was an expected decision
OL Robert Kugler
- The Western New York Native Robert Kugler couldn't live out his dream with the Bills, being the first offensive lineman released by the team today. Kugler struggled with stronger players up the middle, and working at center, had far too many bad snaps to warrant him making it to the 53-man roster.
LS Reid Ferguson
- With long snappers, sometimes all you need is a bad snap or two, and that's just what we saw with Reid Ferguson. The veteran Garrison Sanborn has won the long snapping job yet again, after Ferguson sent a few really low snaps back a time or two during training camp this summer. He would have had to be perfect to unseat Sanborn.
QB Austin Trainor
- The young quarterback just added earlier this week, Austin Trainor's roster life was likely dictated by the health of rookie quarterback Cardale Jones. The Bills wanted to be sure that Jones would be able to play in the team's fourth preseason game in Detroit, and after battling a shoulder injury, it seems as though the Bills were happy enough with the progress in that shoulder. Trainor wasn't likely to be a serious contender for a roster spot.