As the deadline has come and gone on Saturday, the Buffalo Bills officially have their roster down to league requirements. The team needed to get the active roster down to just 53 players by the end of the day, and the Bills have done just that.
The Bills needed to make a total of 30 roster moves by 4:00 pm on Saturday, and two of those were already a given with both wide receiver Walt Powell and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson being placed on the reserve/suspended list to start the year. So, 28 more transactions were needed.
Who did the Bills decide to part ways with? A full list of the 28 roster moves, along with analysis of each move and player:
WR Rod Streater (injury settlement)
- It appeared as though Rod Streater was on his way to making the 53-man roster outright, but just when the Bills seemed like they could least afford an injury to their wide receivers, Streater had to be carted off the field due to a toe injury. Likely needing the roster spot for healthy players at the position, the Bills elected to come to an injury settlement with the vested veteran, sending him immediately to free agency. He had a strong camp, but an ill-timed injury made his time in Buffalo one to a close.
WR Brandon Reilly
- One of the darlings of the preseason for Bills fans, the team is likely hoping to sneak him on the practice squad in the event that he clears waivers. Reilly did everything in his power to try and make the team outright, and made some big plays near the end of the preseason to try and force their hand. However, it just wasn’t enough for the time being — but the cuts on Labor Day weekend are as much of a game as anything else. The Bills are likely going to try and add a wide receiver through the weekend to the roster, which means the Bills will probably need to release someone to do it. Rather than subjecting Reilly to waivers a full day later where there are a lot less cuts, releasing him Saturday gives a greater chance — due to the sheer volume of moves being made today — that he sneaks through the cracks and is available to be signed to the practice squad. Either way, the Bills want Reilly back.
WR Daikiel Shorts
- In the battle for one of the final spots on the roster at wide receiver, Daikiel Shorts was just a tad behind Brandon Reilly — but the Bills have liked what they’ve seen from Shorts just the same. I would expect them to try and snap him up on to the practice squad when they become available on Sunday at 1:00 pm. Shorts made solid plays through the preseason, and the same line of thinking as Reilly goes along with cutting Shorts now to try and keep him in house on the practice squad. The way the wide receiver group is going, if the Bills are able to hang on to both Reilly and Shorts, I’d think one or both gets a shot on the active roster before the season is done.
G Jordan Mudge
- Throughout the summer, Jordan Mudge definitely made the Buffalo Bills think twice before ultimately sending him through waivers. Mudge played extremely well through the beginning stages of training camp, so much so that the Bills started to cross-train him at center to try and see if he could bring them a little bit more value. Had the Bills given up on either John Miller or Vladimir Ducasse — which there is still time for that — Mudge would have been on the very short list to replace that player on the 53-man roster. I think he’s got a lot of potential, and should warrant a practice squad position.
DE Max Valles
- If it weren’t for Eddie Yarbrough coming up and becoming an outright revelation this summer, Max Valles probably would have made the 53-man roster in 2017. However, Yarbrough and Ryan Davis were just that good, which led to Valles falling victim to the numbers crunch. He definitely showed some talent, and seemed much more comfortable as a 4-3 defensive end than in 2016 as an outside linebacker.
CB Bradley Sylve
- Among the cornerback group, it appears Bradley Sylve was the odd man out in the battle for roster spots between him, Kevon Seymour, and Greg Mabin. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Sylve when the Bills were using Seymour at nickel, and when Mabin picked off his second pass in four preseason games. The Seymour point is important, because the Bills have been mostly absent of a backup to Leonard Johnson at nickel corner. Sylve had been cross-trained there at certain points during training camp, but Seymour seems to have taken over.
DL Marquavius Lewis
- During training camp, it appeared Marquavius Lewis was positioning himself to push for a roster spot. A long-limbed defender, the Bills were working him at both defensive end and at defensive tackle, perhaps seeing if he could be a versatile backup piece to end to the bottom half of the roster. As the summer continued, Lewis settled back into his role at defensive tackle, and even was injured by the end of the preseason. Plus, Deandre Coleman outplayed him, which led to Lewis’ release from the roster.
G/T Michael Ola (waived/injured)
- As camp continued along, Michael Ola showed the coaching staff he could help them at both offensive tackle and guard, which led to some speculation that he could have cracked the 53-man roster. However, an injury in the fourth preseason game against the Detroit Lions early on — as cruel as that is — ended any further speculation that he could fight for a roster spot. The Bills elected to designate him as waived/injured, ending his tenure with the team.
S Shamiel Gary (injury settlement)
- At one point in the summer, it looked like Shamiel Gary was going to make the team as the third safety behind starters Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, but a couple of things happened. First, the emergence of Trae Elston in preseason games knocked Gary down the pecking order. Second, Gary became injured, which led the Bills to come to a settlement with him and let him go on his way.
WR Dez Lewis
- After three summers trying to prove to the Bills that he could make an impact in the NFL, the former 2015 seventh-round pick Dez Lewis might just be done for good this time in Buffalo. He made some nice plays during training camp, but they were too far and few between as compared to other receivers on the roster. Now without the GM that drafted him in place, Lewis will likely have to make it elsewhere in the NFL.
S B.T. Sanders
- A late riser through the summer workouts, Sanders was outshined by the likes of Trae Elston during the preseason which is what led to his demise on cut-down day. However, now with Shamiel Gary out of the way with an injury settlement, Sanders has some practice squad potential for the Bills.
OT Cameron Jefferson
- The offensive lineman made waves for being the only Bills player to raise his fist during the national anthem through the final three preseason games. Unfortunately for him, his play through the summer didn’t put him in consideration to make the 53-man roster. He struggled through training camp, even though he got some second-team offense opportunities.
CB Marcus Sayles
- The Bills elected to move on from Marcus Sayles for the time being, but according to ESPN, would like to bring him back on the practice squad if he makes it through. Sayles likely slots in best as a nickel cornerback, and with Leonard Johnson and Kevon Seymour appearing to be the primary nickel corners on the roster, Sayles is someone they can develop for the spot if injury becomes an issue.
DE Ian Seau
- Through the first part of training camp, Ian Seau battled through a foot injury and fell behind on the depth chart. From that point forward, Seau started to show up during the late portion of preseason games — but the impact was felt nonetheless. He was consistently getting into the backfield over the final two weeks, and the Bills took notice. I think there is a very strong possibility they try to bring Seau back on the practice squad.
TE Wes Saxton
- Of the five lesser known tight ends the Bills had competing with the top three of Charles Clay, Nick O’Leary, and Logan Thomas, Wes Saxton provided the most consistent competition. The trouble for him, though, is that Thomas made definitive strides through the summer in his transition from quarterback to tight end — and you can’t ignore that type of athleticism and potential with the type of frame that Thomas has. I could envision the Bills reaching out to Saxton to join the practice squad if all goes well for him.
QB Keith Winning
- Considering the long odds he had and the tough situation around him, Keith Wenning did a fairly solid job in the preseason finale with all of one practice with the Bills in hand. It never made sense to keep Wenning on board even through the weekend. Even if Tyrod Taylor was not able to come back from his concussion for Week One, odds are they’ll be able to bring Wenning back during the week if need be.
S Joe Powell
- Through some injuries during the summer of practices, Joe Powell actually got some opportunities to work with the second-team defense. However, he failed to discern himself when given the opportunities, while Trae Elston and B.T. Sanders both took a step forward. A good story from a small school, but the Bills were just looking for a bit more out of the backup safeties.
G Zach Voytek
- Near the end of cut down day, the Bills had a glut along the interior offensive line, and the most obvious candidate to be released was Voytek. He showed some ability, but was behind in the numbers game with Jordan Mudge and Michael Ola looking more consistent and more versatile.
RB Jordan Johnson
- The Sweet Home High School and University at Buffalo product reached the peak of his NFL preseason experience by getting to score a touchdown at New Era Field late against the Detroit Lions. It was always going to be an uphill climb for Johnson, who really didn’t offer a ton on special teams units. That’s why players like Joe Banyard and Taiwan Jones were in consideration to make the team ahead of him. Either way, seeing him score a touchdown in the NFL in Orchard Park was a feel-good moment for the hometown player.
LB Abner Logan
- Logan was scarcely used anywhere else but with the third-team defense. His fate appeared to be sealed when in the final practice before the preseason tilt against the Lions, Logan was working as a fullback rather than at linebacker. That wasn’t the best of signs for the young player.
WR Jeremy Butler
- This is a roster move where the writing was on the wall for some time. When on the field, Jeremy Butler didn’t really stand out during training camp practices, and then suffered a concussion, and has missed the past several weeks. The Bills will designate him as waived/injured, and move on after what had to be a frustrating summer for the wide receiver.
LB Carl Bradford
- Though he has a slight amount of name recognition for fans, Carl Bradford could never advance himself from duties on the third-team defense. He needed to really make his mark on special teams, but there were just too many names ahead of him at linebacker to have a realistic chance.
DL Nigel Williams
- With Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, Jerel Worthy, and Adolphus Washington all safe bets to make the roster in 2017, Williams needed to be the best of the three main third-stringers. Deandre Coleman, Marquavius Lewis, and Williams were all fighting for maybe one spot, and Williams was lagging behind those two players during both training camp and the preseason. A short-armed defender, he struggled at the point of attack when trying to transition to the NFL.
LB Jacob Lindsey
- There were some days that Jacob Lindsey was really noticeable, but he just never strung enough good practices and days together to be a serious contender for a 53-man roster spot. He was fighting an uphill battle, too, due to two of the Bills six draft picks (Matt Milano and Tanner Vallejo) playing outside linebacker in the team’s defensive scheme.
OL Greg Pyke
- It was a tough time for much of the summer for Greg Pyke. He wasn’t able to push for likely roster consideration unlike someone like fellow interior lineman Jordan Mudge.
S Adrian McDonald
- A late addition to the roster this summer, McDonald was added to just get through the final preseason game with a complete unit at safety. Unless he played extraordinarily, it was going to be tough for him to make the team.
TE Busta Anderson
- Much like McDonald, Anderson was a late addition to the team following the injury to both Jason Croom and Keith Towbridge, and the subsequent release of both of those players from the roster. Anderson never climbed ahead of Wes Saxton as the team’s fourth tight end, and was facing a tough challenge making the roster so late into camp.
LB Sam Barrington (injured reserve)
- The Bills kept Barrington on the roster, but have put him on Injured Reserve, which means his 2017 season is over.