Leodis McKelvin Released by Bills: Latest Comments and Reaction

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2016

Buffalo Bills strong safety Leodis McKelvin (21) reacts after a play against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)
Gary Wiepert/Associated Press

Seeking to free up cap space, the Buffalo Bills announced the release of veteran defensive back Leodis McKelvin after eight seasons.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported McKelvin's departure from the Bills. ESPN's Mike Rodak confirmed the report, and reported the Bills would save $3.9 million by releasing him. 

The 30-year-old McKelvin has played his entire career with the Bills, being drafted 11th overall by the team in 2008. His career has been marred by injuries, playing a full 16-game schedule just three times and missing 13 games the past two seasons. 

McKelvin was going into the final season of a four-year contract he signed prior to the 2013 season and was set to make $3.1 million in base salary with a $4.9 million cap hit, per Spotrac

The Bills have been working diligently to create cap space this offseason, notably by releasing Mario Williams. They needed savings from that deal to afford the franchise tag for offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, per NFL Network's Albert Breer (via NFL.com's Conor Orr). 

There is still maneuvering for Bills general manager Doug Whaley to do, as OvertheCap.com estimates the team has just over $1.5 million in cap space. 

It helps that the Bills had two of the NFL's top 10 cornerbacks—Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmorelast season by Pro Football Focus ratings, per MakeGamedayEveryday.com.  

The Bills weren't necessarily looking to release McKelvin when the offseason started. Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 in Buffalo reported the organization was attempting to rework McKelvin's pact, specifically in an effort to lower the $750,000 roster bonus he was due March 11.

McKelvin has said he hoped to remain in Buffalo for 2016 and beyond, per Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News: "It's about opportunity and my decision on what I want to do—do I want to accept that role or do I not want to accept that role? For me personally, my goal is to stay here and get this team to the playoffs. No matter how many years it takes, that's my goal."

While McKelvin's tenure with the Bills has come to an end, he's still got value as a proven defensive back in the NFL. He will have to prove his ability to stay healthy after losing so much time over the past two years, but his ability to find the ball didn't go away with six interceptions since 2014.