- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Thad Lewis is out and Jordan Palmer is in following the Buffalo Bills’ late preseason shuffle of backup quarterbacks.

Palmer was signed Tuesday, two days after being cut by the Chicago Bears, where he lost the backup competition to Jimmy Clausen.

In five NFL seasons, Palmer has appeared in just four games and completed 10 of 15 passes for 59 yards and two interceptions.

Lewis’ release comes as a surprise after he went 2-3 last year while filling in for injured rookie starter EJ Manuel.

Acquired in a trade with Detroit last August, Lewis went 93 of 157 for 1,092 yards passing with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Lewis, however, struggled during training camp and fell behind Jeff Tuel in the competition for the No. 2 job.

Coach Doug Marrone said he was disappointed in Lewis’ play, which led the team reaching the conclusion that Palmer might provide more potential despite having less playing time.

“Could Jordan be a better player than Thad? Yes, he could,” Marrone said. “And we’re going to find that out and we’ll make a decision.”

Marrone said Palmer is expected to get extensive playing time on Thursday, when Buffalo (1-3) closes its preseason hosting the Detroit Lions (2-1).

And Marrone said it was premature to suggest that Lewis’ departure meant Tuel has secured the No. 2 spot for Buffalo’s season opener at Chicago on Sept. 7.

In a separate move, the Bills placed starting linebacker Kiko Alonso on the reserve/non-football injury list. The second-year player is expected to miss the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee working out in Oregon on July 1.

After spending much of the past two months rehabbing, Alonso is now working out at the Bills renovated facility in Orchard Park.

The Bills also claimed punter Jordan Gay, two days after he was released by Carolina. Gay also spent last summer with the Panthers before being cut.

Palmer is the younger brother of Arizona Cardinals’ starter Carson Palmer. He was selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, but failed to make the Redskins’ roster. Palmer then spent three seasons in Cincinnati and another in Jacksonville before signing with the Bears.

Despite his lack of playing time, Palmer has developed a reputation for mentoring quarterbacks. Earlier this year, he oversaw Blake Bortles pre-draft workout during Central Florida’s pro day. Bortles was selected third overall by Jacksonville.

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