- Mike Rodak, ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter
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For the 30 teams not playing in the Super Bowl, Monday is one of the great days of the NFL calendar, a chance to turn the page from last season and work from a clean slate.
It also is the first day that teams can terminate players' contracts.
The Buffalo Bills have a few veteran players who could be candidates to be released in the coming weeks or months as the Bills' roster and finances are reshuffled for the offseason.
In my estimation, here are the names to consider:
LB Keith Rivers: The Bills signed Rivers last spring with the intention of making him an opening-day starter, which he was. However, a groin injury and ineffective play led third-round rookie Preston Brown to slide into his starting spot by Week 7. Rivers was a mere insurance policy after that, playing sparingly through the final two-and-a-half months of the season. Of his $2.2 million cap number for this season -- the final year of his deal -- the Bills would only be on the hook for $500,000 if they released him. Rex Ryan's defense typically uses only two off-the-line linebackers, roles that figure to be filled by a combination of Brown, Nigel Bradham and Kiko Alonso. That leaves little room for Rivers, who could be better suited finding work elsewhere.
G Kraig Urbik: The Bills' offensive line was one of the NFL's worst last season and Urbik deserves some of the blame. While he brought some stability to the left guard spot -- which was in turmoil after Chris Williams' early-season back injury and rookie Cyril Richardson's struggles as a replacement -- Urbik's results were still below average. Urbik is due a $300,000 roster bonus as part of a $3.6 million cap number next season. The Bills can avoid paying that roster bonus -- and save $2.28 million off their salary cap -- by releasing Urbik this spring. Numbers-wise, the Bills would be down at guard, especially with Erik Pears' contract expiring. But given Urbik's price tag over the two years remaining on his contract, it might not be worth it to keep him around absent a restructured deal.
CB Leodis McKelvin: This one would come out of left field and I'm not suggesting that it's a move that's likely to happen. But if the New England Patriots don't pick up Darrelle Revis' $20 million option and the Bills become suitors for his services, as ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Sunday could happen, then releasing McKelvin is a move the Bills should ponder. In his seven seasons in Buffalo, McKelvin has never emerged as a No. 1 cornerback and probably never will be one, even after snagging a career-high four interceptions in 10 games last season. Revis, who is just two months older, has proved to be one of the best cornerbacks of his era. The Bills could save $2.9 million off their salary cap this season by releasing McKelvin, freeing up cap space that could go toward reeling in Revis. With Stephon Gilmore, Corey Graham and Nickell Robey rounding out the depth chart, they wouldn't miss McKelvin.
The Bills have a few veteran players who could be candidates to be released in the coming weeks as the Bills' roster and finances are reshuffled.