Buffalo Bills Release of Drayton Florence Shows Commitment to Youth Movement

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IMay 4, 2012

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25:  Drayton Florence #29 of the Buffalo Bills waves a Buffalo Bills flag after the Bills beat the New England Patriots for the first time in 15 games at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. Buffalo won 34-31. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The competition for roster spots in the Buffalo Bills secondary may not get started until training camp, but that doesn't mean the team can't pare down the list a little before camp gets underway.

That's exactly what they did when they released cornerback Drayton Florence, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Honestly, this should come as no surprise.

Florence has started every game over the past three years and 45 total with the Bills, but struggled mightily last year. According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up completions on 60.3 percent of throws in his direction for 714 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions, forfeiting a passer rating of 103.3 on his watch in coverage.

For all of that, Florence was due to make $4 million in base salary in 2012 and would have counted for $4.9 million against the salary cap.

The team felt so unsure of Florence that they added two cornerbacks in the draft, South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore and LSU's Ron Brooks.

The two rookies are sure to make the roster, and second-year corner Aaron Williams is also a lock for the final 53-man roster. Terrence McGee, Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers and Prince Miller were set to battle it out with Florence over the remaining roster spots.

In moving on from the 31-year-old cornerback in addition to the draft acquisitions at cornerback and linebacker, the Bills are sending a message that they are trying to get younger and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball. Assessing the current group of defensive backs—corners and safeties—we find just two players over the age of 30 in McGee and George Wilson.

The two linebackers drafted by the Bills, Nigel Bradham of Florida State and Tank Carder of TCU, weren't taken until the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively, but some older linebackers could be on notice. 

As the Bills move forward into a new era, this may not be the last surprise cut we get this offseason.