One day after Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Alan Branch was arrested for drunk driving, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the eight-year veteran has been released by the team.
One day after Buffalo HC Doug Marrone said DT Alan Branch had been arrested, the Bills cut him, per a league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 24, 2014
Following the arrest early Saturday morning, Branch was inactive for the Bills pre-season game last night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While it may seem like a big deal on the surface, the release of Branch was not surprising to those who have followed the team throughout training camp.
Branch has spiralled downward ever since the spring – as we noted earlier in the day – and his role throughout training camp has been limited, predominately being used with the second and third team throughout camp.
If his diminished role in practice didn’t raise suspicion, his usage in the teams first preseason game certainly did, as the defensive tackle only played in the fourth quarter alongside many players who are fighting for a job. Clearly, Branch’s presence on this defence was not something defensive co-ordinator Jim Schwartz had in mind. If anything, his arrest made the Bills decision that much easier – as ESPN’s Mike Rodak pointed out via Twitter.
Writing was on the wall for Branch’s release for weeks. Barely had a role in defense this preseason. Arrest sealed his fate.
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) August 24, 2014
In terms of the salary cap ramifications of Branch’s release, they are actually not that bad according to ESPN’s Mike Rodak. The Bills would lose the $3.1 million signing bonus they gave the 29-year old from when they signed him back in December. But after that, Buffalo would only be charged his $775,000 signing bonus from this year against the salary cap.
Next year though, the Bills will have to swallow $1.55 million in Branch’s signing bonuses owed in the 2015 and 2016 season. But in the immediate future, they free up $1.9 million against their salary cap this season, and probably relieve themselves of an obvious headache.