- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Remember the Buffalo Bills’ 2012 offseason? That was the year Buffalo went on a rare spending spree and signed multiple players to big-money contracts. It led to plenty of optimism, but the Bills fizzled out with a 6-10 season.
On Tuesday, Buffalo's 2012 free-agent class suffered its first casualty. The Bills cut defensive end Mark Anderson just one year after signing a $19.5 million contract. Anderson joined Mario Williams, who signed for $100 million, as Buffalo's bookend free agents in 2012.
Cutting Anderson is not a surprise, considering he recorded just 12 tackles and one sack with Buffalo last season. He was injured and underperformed in Buffalo. Anderson also wasn't a natural fit in new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's scheme. It didn't take long for Buffalo to admit signing Anderson was a mistake.
But here is the next question: Could Anderson return to the reigning AFC East champion New England Patriots?
Anderson had arguably the best season of his career with New England in 2011 when he recorded 10 sacks. That led to Buffalo signing Anderson to a large contract. Anderson proved that he fits in New England's scheme, and the team lost depth on the defense line this offseason after cutting Brandon Deaderick and Kyle Love. Anderson could be a decent option in a backup role.
But a return to New England would require Anderson to accept a cheap contract. It's too early to say if Anderson is willing to do so, especially if he gets interest from several other teams.