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Bills cut DT Edwards; keep 4 QBs entering season

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)

Veteran defensive tackle Dwan Edwards was cut, while the Bills backup quarterback competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Tyler Thigpen will extend into the regular season after Buffalo made its final cuts on Friday.

The Bills could also be in the market for a free-agent receiver after keeping only five. They cut 21 players, all told, and placed rookie offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders on injured reserve to establish a 53-man roster.

Jackson and Thigpen both made the roster in what's suddenly became an unsettled position in determining who'll play the backup role behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jackson was acquired in a trade with Seattle on Monday in a move that led to Vince Young being released.

Thigpen's job was considered to be on the line, but his knowledge of the Bills' offense is deemed critical while Jackson gets a chance to learn coach Chan Gailey's system.

Keeping four quarterbacks, including receiver/wildcat specialist Brad Smith, was not Gailey's intention this offseason. His initial plan was to have one backup, and let Smith handle the No. 3 role.

The Bills are coming off an 0-4 preseason following a 38-32 loss at Detroit Thursday. They return to practice Saturday, and open the season at the New York Jets Sept. 9.

Among the notable other players released were: receivers Derek Hagan and Marcus Easley and linebackers Scott McKillop and Tank Carder, a rookie fifth-round draft pick

Hagan got off to a solid start in training camp, while Easley was attempting to make the team after missing the past two seasons with injuries since the Bills selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft.

Their departures, along with Naaman Roosevelt, Ruvell Martin and Kamar Aiken, leave the Bills with only five receivers, including Smith.

Edwards, an eight-year veteran, proved to be expendable in part because of his hefty contract and also because he no longer fits in the Bills defensive scheme after the team made the switch to a 4-3 alignment. After spending the past two seasons in Buffalo starting at defensive end, he was relegated to a backup role at tackle behind Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams. Edwards had two years left on the $18 million contract, and was scheduled to make a $4.1 million base salary this season.

Edwards was credited with 109 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks in 27 games, including 24 starts with the Bills. He spent his first six seasons in Baltimore.

Bills players expressed surprise and disappointment in posting notes on their Twitter accounts after learning of Edwards' being released.

''Dwan was a beast this year in camp,'' center Eric Wood wrote. ''I wish him well. Great teammate and a great guy.''

Linebacker Nick Barnett wrote that he was ''Absolutely disappointed,'' and added, ''Can not have enough guys on your team like him!!''

Among the notables to make the roster were kicker John Potter, a rookie seventh-round pick, who will handle kickoffs because of his strong leg. Veteran Rian Lindell will be limited to field goals and extra points.

Dorin Dickerson earned a spot at halfback. He signed with Buffalo in May after spending the past two seasons with New England, Pittsburgh and Houston. Undrafted rookie safety Delano Howell also made the team.

Carder was among the cuts despite coming off an accomplished college career at TCU. He was a two-time Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year. And he also earned defensive MVP honors in the 2011 Rose Bowl after helping secure TCU's 21-19 win over Wisconsin by breaking up a potential game-tying two-point conversion with 2 minutes left.

Carder suggested he had been cut by posting a note on his Twitter account, saying he appreciated everything the Bills had done for him thus far.

''Wasn't the right fit,'' he added. ''Best of luck to the team and the organization.''

McKillop, selected in the 2009 fifth round by San Francisco, signed with Buffalo in January. McKillop missed the 2010 season with a knee injury, and was out of football last year after being cut by the 49ers.

The Bills also cut running backs Johnny White and Zach Brown; offensive linemen David Snow, Mark Asper and Keith Williams; defensive linemen Robert Eddins, Kellen Heard and Jarron Gilbert; defensive backs Nick Saenz and Isaiah Green and punter Shawn Powell.

Tagged: Bills, 49ers, Dwan Edwards, Tarvaris Jackson, Brad Smith, Tyler Thigpen, Scott McKillop, Tank Carder

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