The Bills have released defensive tackle Alan Branch, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Branch did not play in last night’s preseason game against the Buccaneers after being arrested for DUI.
Bracnh, 29, was a second-round pick by the Cardinals in 2007. After his stay in Arizona, he spent time with the Seahawks before joining the Bills in April 2013. Just last December, Buffalo signed him to a three-year, $9.1MM extension, which included a $3.1MM signing bonus. Branch was set to earn $1.85MM in base salary in 2014, $875K of which was guaranteed for injury only, per Brian McIntyre (on Twitter). Buffalo saves just $350K in cap space by releasing the veteran defensive lineman.
It’s rare to see a recently-extended player cut so quickly, but in the case of Branch, it’s not completely unexpected. Even before Branch’s arrest, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com was speculating that the former Michigan Wolverine could be released.
Branch started 13 games for the Bills last season, and has started 47 during his career, accruing 112 tackles and eight sacks. As far as Branch’s prospects in free agency, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News tweets that the 49ers could show interest in the DT, especially since San Francisco nose tackle Glenn Dorsey figures to miss the entire season with a torn bicep. Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that Branch would be an upgrade at nose tackle in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme.