- Associated Press - Monday, March 6, 2017

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Buffalo Bills have released five players in a cost-cutting move before the start of free agency.

Kicker Dan Carpenter and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman top the list of cuts, which also includes long snapper Garrison Sanborn, tight end Gerald Christian and safety Phillip Thomas.

Carpenter had been with the Bills since 2013 and was entering the final year of his contract.

Carpenter got off to a terrific start in Buffalo, missing only seven field goals in 74 attempts in his first two seasons as a Bill. But he struggled following the NFL’s extra-point change in 2015 and missed 11 extra points from 2015-16. The 31-year-old began his career with Miami in 2008 and spent his first five seasons with the Dolphins.

Robey-Coleman joined the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and served as the team’s primary nickel cornerback for a majority of his time in Buffalo.

His playing time diminished last season, however, due to inconsistent play. He had 167 tackles, three interceptions and five sacks in four seasons with Buffalo. Robey-Coleman was also entering the final year of his contract.

Robey-Coleman’s release leaves the Bills especially thin at cornerback heading into free agency. Buffalo is not expected to re-sign top cornerback Stephon Gilmore, an upcoming free agent. Former second-round pick Ronald Darby and second-year pro Kevon Seymour top the depth chart at the position following Robey-Coleman’s release.

Sanborn, 31, had been Buffalo’s long snapper since 2009. Christian played in three games for Buffalo last season while Thomas spent time on the team’s practice squad.


For more NFL coverage: https://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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