NFL

Bills release George Wilson, Nick Barnett

2/11/13 in NFL   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

The Buffalo Bills began revamping the defense under new head coach Doug Marrone by releasing two of their top returning tacklers in the 2012 season – starting linebacker Nick Barnett and safety George Wilson on Monday.
 
Nick Barnett signed with the Buffalo Bills as a free agent in 2011 after spending eight productive seasons with the Green Bay Packers. The 10-year veteran Nick Barnett led the team in tackles (242 total) during the two past seasons with the Buffalo Bills, while starting every single game. Last season, Nick Barnett registered 112 tackles along with five tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two sacks. The Buffalo Bills would have owed Nick Barnett $3.5 million for the one season remaining on his three-year contract.
 
When George Wilson signed with the Buffalo Bills as a undrafted free agent in 2004, he played a major role on the special teams. However in 2008, George Wilson was moved to full-time starting strong safety. The eight-year veteran George Wilson totaled 412 tackles, 12 interceptions, 25 passes defended, six tackles for a loss and 3.5 sacks, while playing 92 games for the Buffalo Bills. George Wilson was only second in the team (behind Nick Barnett) with 104 tackles last season, while also making five pass deflections. George Wilson, who turns 32 next month, was due to make $2.9 million next season after triggering an escalator in his contract.
 
Changes on the defense were expected for next season after the Buffalo Bills defense ranked amongst the bottom half in the league by allowing 362.9 yards per game. Both moves also save the Buffalo Bills a combined $6.4 million in cap space for 2013.The Buffalo Bills could use the freed roster spots to improve the linebacker corps by adding size and more physicality to the group which was was pushed around too often last season.
 
Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix said the cuts the team moving towards the future by opening opportunity for the Bills’ younger players to step into those bigger roles.
 
“Moves like the ones we've made today are never easy, but we have to do what's best for our team and keep moving forward,” said Buddy Nix. “We've got some good young players on our roster who we feel are ready to take the next step and they will now have the opportunity to do so.”
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