The Buffalo Bills continue to make moves at defensive tackle and after signing Jordan Phillips, Tim Settle and DaQuan Jones as a free agents, the team announced they were releasing veteran Star Lotulelei on Friday.
Lotulelei joined the Bills as a free agent in 2018 and immediately stepped in as a starter at the position. He would start every game over his first two seasons with the team and was a player whose impact was not measured by stats.
He was a player that was able to clog running lanes in the middle of the field and be able to keep offensive linemen from reaching that second level on running plays. The impact he had was clear in 2020 when he opted out of the season due to the pandemic and Buffalo struggled against the run.
He returned to the team last year but missed time due to injuries and eventually lost his starting job to Harrison Phillips.
Buffalo Bills and Star Lotulelei reportedly tried to re-work his contract
The move to release Star Lotulelei wasn’t likely done for cap reasons as releasing him only frees up about $1.5 million in cap space while also creating $7.7 million in dead cap according to Spotrac. Another option will be to designate this move as a June 1st release and create $4.4 million in cap space but that additional cap space wouldn’t be available until after June 1st.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the two sides did have discussions about Lotulelei returning but weren’t able to come to an agreement.
However, with the moves the team has made this offseason they should be better suited to handle the absence of Lotulelei on this defensive line. All three defensive tackles they have signed this offseason do an excellent job against the run and should help this defense. This is a move that helps the Buffalo Bills in terms of their roster and the number of spots designated for the position.