BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills’ decision to retool their group of receivers for a second consecutive offseason led to the team cutting three returning players, including veteran Andre Roberts on Saturday.
Roberts, however, isn't expected to be leaving Buffalo. A person familiar with discussions told The Associated Press the Bills plan to re-sign Roberts as well as backup safety Dean Marlowe, who was also cut. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because those plans haven't been publicly released.
Former CFL star Duke Williams and Robert Foster were two other receivers among the 24 players the Bills cut in establishing their 53-player roster.
Veteran defensive end Trent Murphy, meanwhile, isn’t going anywhere after speculation he might be the odd man out because of salary-cap concerns. Murphy, who has combined for nine sacks in two seasons in Buffalo, is entering the third and final year of his contact and due to make a base salary of $6.1 million.
Buffalo opens the season hosting the New York Jets on Sept. 13.
The shuffling of receivers comes following an offseason in which Buffalo acquired Stefon Diggs in a trade with Minnesota, and added size by drafting Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins, who both made the team.
Roberts, who also doubled as the team’s punt and kickoff returner, saw speedster Isaiah McKenzie establish himself as a versatile threat as a receiver, runner and on special teams last season. At 32, Roberts has played 10 NFL seasons and earned an All-Pro special teams selection in 2018. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons.
Williams was cut after making his NFL rookie debut at 26 last year, and after nearly giving up on football. He signed with Buffalo after two seasons with Edmonton, where he led the CFL with 1,579 yards receiving and tied for the league lead with 11 touchdowns in 2018.
Though he opened last season on Buffalo’s practice squad, he scored the decisive touchdown on a 7-yard catch in a 14-7 win at Tennessee in his first NFL game on Oct. 6. Williams, however, appeared in only four games and finished with 12 catches for 166 yards and a TD.
Foster was an undrafted rookie out of Alabama who showed promise in the second half of the 2018 season, finishing with 27 catches for 541 yards and three touchdowns. Foster was unable to build off that production or find a regular role last season in a revamped receiving group following the veteran free-agent additions of Cole Beasley and John Brown.
Buffalo is relatively thin at defensive back, keeping five cornerbacks and three safeties following Marlowe’s release.
Undrafted rookie Reggie Gilliam made the roster as a fullback after spending his four-year college career playing tight end at Toledo. The Bills began converting him recently after veteran Patrick DiMarco was sidelined by a neck injury.
DiMarco was placed on injured reserve on Friday. HIs season is over.
Linebacker Andre Smith was among the players cut after being acquired on Monday in a trade with Carolina for a conditional draft pick.
Cornerback Dane Jackson, Buffalo’s second of two seventh-round picks, was the only one of seven draft picks to not make the roster. Georgia’s Jake Fromm, a fifth-round pick, made it as a third quarterback despite some struggles in training camp, and after he apologized in June for using the phrase “elite white people” in a text conversation from more than a year earlier that was posted on social media.
The Bills also placed tight end Tommy Sweeney on the physically unable to perform list. Sweeney has been out with a foot injury sustained before the start of training camp.
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