Matt Cassel went from losing the Bills’ three-way quarterback competition to losing his job in Buffalo.
The 10-year journeyman was the most notable of five players cut by the Bills on Saturday, when NFL teams had to establish their 53-player roster.
The decision to cut Cassel came as a slight surprise. A day earlier Cassel said he was given "no indication" from the team that he should be worried about his job. He added that he was under the impression the Bills were intending to keep three quarterbacks after Buffalo released fourth-stringer Matt Simms.
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Cassel’s release leaves Buffalo with two quarterbacks, led by Tyrod Taylor, who was selected as the starter on Monday. Former starter and 2013 first-round draft pick EJ Manuel is the backup.
Coach Rex Ryan went with Taylor because of his mobility, which makes him a dual-threat as a passer and rusher.
Cassel, by comparison, lacks speed and mobility and is regarded as more of a pocket-passer. He was also coming off surgery to repair a broken left foot that forced him to miss the final 13 games of last season.
Another reason Cassel became the odd-man out was the $4.15 million base salary he was due in the final year of his contract. That’s regarded as expensive for a backup quarterback.
The Bills acquired Cassel in an offseason trade with Minnesota, and he spent a majority of the offseason working with Buffalo’s starting offense. Cassel’s playing time, however, diminished once the preseason began.
He was limited to appearing in just four series split over two games, and finished 13 of 15 for 83 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
The cuts leave the Bills with room to add players leading up to their season opener against Indianapolis on Sept. 13. Buffalo’s roster is at 51, not including defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who will miss the opener while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
The Bills also cut defensive tackle Red Bryant, center Dalton Freeman, safety Jonathan Meeks and linebacker Kevin Reddick. Freeman and Reddick had both been claimed off waivers earlier in the week.
The cuts leave Buffalo’s roster particularly top heavy at tight end, where the team is carrying five players, including newly acquired starter Charles Clay. New coordinator Greg Roman has a history of using a tight-end friendly offense.