Wide receiver has been a need for the Buffalo Bills for years. While the rich may sometimes get richer, the needy just got needier.
The Buffalo Bills announced they will not make a contract offer to restricted free agent wide receiver Donald Jones, meaning he will hit the open market on March 12.
General manager Buddy Nix said in a statement (via BuffaloBills.com):
We have made the decision not to re-sign Donald. We're going in a different direction and this move today gives Donald the opportunity to catch on with another team early on in the process. We thank him for his years with our organization and wish him the best in the future.
He missed eight games due to injury in 2011 and missed the final three games of the 2012 season with a calf injury, which he says he has since fully recovered from.
"It was pretty upsetting to get the call today," Jones said (via The Buffalo News). "It kind of was a shock. But it is what it is. Now me and my family will move forward to another team and hopefully I get to play against the Bills."
Over the past two years, Jones ranks fifth on the team with 64 catches. It should be noted, however, that three of the four players in front of him were tight ends or running backs.
Jones has played in the NFL for three years, starting 22 games along the way. He started 10 games last year and finished fourth on the team with 41 catches for 443 yards and four touchdowns
As a restricted free agent, the Bills would have been able to retain him with a one-year, $1.33 million deal (according to Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News). Instead, they will explore other options.
The reshaping of the Bills receiving corps has begun, in earnest, in moving on from Jones. David Nelson is also set to become a restricted free agent as he recovers from a knee injury he suffered in the 2012 season opener against the Jets.
The Bills have other options, as well; there is a long list of free agent wide receivers to choose from as well, and though the draft is not considered top-heavy at wide receiver, most believe it to be a deep class at the position.
Here's some more news from around the AFC East.
Field Yates of ESPN Boston ponders the Patriots past and potential future with big wide receivers.
Bleacher Report Patriots featured columnist Mike Dussault lists six Patriots who could be facing make-or-break years.
B/R Jets featured columnist Adam Waksman lists five draft prospects who were born to play for the Jets.
Joe Caporoso of TurnOnTheJets.com looks at the players who must make strides in 2013.
Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com explains that the departure of Donald Jones creates an opening at wide receiver.
Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550 SprotsRadio takes a look at the quarterbacks in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post writes that Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is already ready to get back to work.
B/R Dolphins featured columnist Thomas Galicia explains why the Dolphins should not re-sign cornerback Sean Smith.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.