Bills cut Brown, Jefferson to free up much-needed cap space

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills released receiver John Brown and defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson in moves made Wednesday to free up much-needed space under the newly announced salary cap.

Brown had one year remaining on a three-year, $27 million contract he signed in free agency. And Jefferson had one year left on the two-year, $13.5 million contract he signed in joining the Bills last offseason.

The cuts come a week before the NFL’s signing period opens, and free up more than $14.4 million in space, according to Spotrac.com. Before the cuts, the Bills were projected to have about $3 million available under the $182.5 million cap established earlier in the day.

Brown was hampered by knee and foot injuries that limited him to nine games last season in which he had 33 catches for 458 yards and three touchdowns. It came a year after Brown led Buffalo with 72 catches for 1,060 yards — both career bests — and six touchdowns playing alongside slot receiver Cole Beasley.

Aside from injuries, Brown’s role as an outside speed threat in 2020 was further diminished following the addition of Stefon Diggs and the emergence of rookie Gabriel Davis.

Diggs, acquired in a trade with Minnesota, led the team with eight touchdowns, became Buffalo’s first player to lead the NFL in both catches (127) and yards receiving (a team-record 1,535), and made the All-Pro team. Davis was a fourth-round draft pick who had 35 catches for 599 yards and seven touchdowns, and finished the season starting in place of Brown.

Jefferson was signed a year ago as part of Buffalo’s bid to revamp its defensive line to fill in for free-agent departures. The fifth-year player finished with 23 tackles and three sacks in 16 games, including three starts, while playing about 50% of the defensive snaps as part of Buffalo’s defensive line rotation.

The subtractions provide the Bills an opportunity to re-sign several pending restricted free agents, including offensive lineman Jon Feliciano and receiver Isaiah McKenzie, as well as address other needs once the signing period opens.

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