Buffalo Bills: Reasons for cutting Fred Jackson now don’t add up


Something doesn’t make sense about the Buffalo Bills’ decision to release Fred Jackson

Before any Buffalo Bills fans – or indeed football supporters in general – make the accusation, I should make the point I pride myself on being objective. I didn’t grow up following the Bills – heck, I’m not even from Western New York.

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With that disclaimer out of the way, I’m as shocked as anyone by the decision to cut Fred Jackson. Everything about the move doesn’t make sense, right down to the timing of it.

General Manager Doug Whaley claimed part of the reason for releasing the popular running back now, was to give him an opportunity to catch on with another team. Really?! Now?!?! With just one preseason game remaining, and just nine days until the start of the regular season?!?!?!

Surely Jackson would have had more opportunities, and indeed time, to find a new team if he had been released earlier. Why not release him in April? Or May? Or June. Or……………..you get the point.

When you think about the current list of injuries at the running back position, the decision again makes little sense. While the Bills are cautiously optimistic LeSean McCoy will be ready for opening day, there are no guarantees at this stage.

Dec 14, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Apart from that, are you really telling me that Karlos Williams, Anthony Dixon and Bryce Brown are all better than the guy they let go? Didn’t Jackson just prove himself (again) against the Pittsburgh Steelers?

When Whaley spoke to WGR 550 and the rest of the media on Monday, he tried his best to appear contrite on the matter: “It makes it tough, not only with everybody you cut because they’re being rejected, but it also makes it tough when you’re talking about a guy like Fred Jackson.

“It was difficult for everybody involved. You hate cutting somebody and telling them you don’t want them to be part of your organization, but a guy with that stature, it was a very emotional conversation for him, myself and Rex Ryan.”

Another factor that makes this whole situation seem less than savory, is Whaley’s comments that the salary cap was part of the reason. With the move, the Bills will save over $2.6 million.

However, even this struggles to make sense, if you can believe a report by profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. As per a source with knowledge of the situation, Mike Florio claims Jackson would have done anything to retire with Buffalo.

You would have to imagine this includes being open to restructuring his contract to make it more team-friendly, but this option was never given to the 34-year old. Overall, despite speaking to the media, Whaley declined to get into too many specifics about the release, thus leaving everyone with more questions than answers.

In the end, maybe Jackson was just always facing an uphill battle, as per reports that Rex Ryan wanted to let him go when he first arrived. The head coach was apparently talked out of it at the time by ownership, but – surprise, surprise – Whaley was unprepared to comment on this either on Monday.

Of course, everyone will get over the move eventually. But for now, it leaves an extremely bitter taste in the mouth.

Next: The only way is up for Ronald Darby

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