In a move that can’t be viewed as a surprise, the Buffalo Bills today announced the release of veteran cornerback Drayton Florence.
With the Bills taking two cornerbacks (Stephon Gilmore and Ron Brooks) in last week’s NFL Draft to go along with two promising corners taken last April (Aaron Williams and Justin Rogers), the Bills suddenly had a lot of bodies at cornerback. You knew at least one of Buffalo’s veteran corners (Florence, Terrence McGee, and Leodis McKelvin) was getting the boot.
Bills GM Buddy Nix thanked Florence in a statement while acknowledging the team is ready to roll with its stable of young talent at CB: “I want to thank Drayton for all he’s done for our team during his three years in Buffalo,” Nix said. “But we have some good, young talent at the cornerback position that has tremendous upside. They need to take as many of the reps at practice as they can to continue to develop that talent. Our defense has gone through a number of changes since the end of last season and we feel that it’s necessary to give these young corners the opportunity to be in the lineup.”
Florence was a three-year starter for the Bills from 2009-2011 after signing with the Bills as a free agent. He appeared in 46 games for Buffalo over that span with 168 tackles and seven interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. I’ll always fondly remember his INT returned for a touchdown in last season’s historic win over the New England Patriots.
Florence was very good in 2010, but with the exception of the New England touchdown there weren’t many highlights for the veteran in 2011. Between his poor play last season and his relatively large contract compared to his fellow veteran CBs – Terrence McGee restructured his contract this winter to make himself more affordable, and Leodis McKelvin is only making about $1 million this season thanks to his front-loaded rookie contract – he was going to be a long shot to make this roster anyway. Better to cut the cord now and not waste reps on him in training camp.