Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – While Western New York remains on standby for a final decision regarding quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s option, the Buffalo Bills began the week with several other roster decisions by cutting ties with five players.

Desperate for cap space, the team announced the release of TE Gerald Christian, K Dan Carpenter, CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, LS Garrison Sanborn and S Phillip Thomas. The Bills will gain an additional $6.08 million in cap space by cutting the quintet, which balloons their total space from just over $18 million, up to $24 million.

Carpenter’s release doesn’t come as much of a surprise after back-to-back shaky seasons as the team’s field goal and PAT specialist. Since the NFL opted to move the extra point back to the 15-yard line for the start of the 2015 season, Carpenter has missed 11 of his 85 extra points attempts and posted the two lowest conversion percentages of his career. He’s also missed 10 of his 52 field goal attempts over that span. Those inconsistencies made cutting the 31-year-old, who would have counted $2.97M against the cap in 2017, an easy decision; as it saves the Bills $2.4M. Carpenter carries a dead cap figure of  $537,000, which will still count against the cap.

The biggest surprise of the group is certainly Robey-Coleman, who just signed a new contract two seasons ago, and was one of just three corners still under contract that saw substantial playing time in 2016. His discharge frees up another $1.65M in cap space, but also deepens the hole Buffalo has at cornerback. Only Ronald Darby, Kevon Seymour, Marcus Roberson, Jonathan Dowling and Charles Gaines are currently under contract at that position for 2017. Robey-Coleman’s dead cap hit is only $433K.

The release of Sanborn also comes as a slight surprise, given his consistency over eight years of service for the Bills, but his $1.08M cap hit was apparently too steep. Buffalo saves another $950,000 here, and eats the long-snapper’s $137,500 dead cap figure.

The duo of Christian and Thomas account for an additional $1.8M in savings and neither carry any kind of dead salary figure.

Buffalo now has just 45 players under contract for the upcoming season – the lowest total in the NFL – and despite the savings hold the 12th-least salary cap space in league. It’s safe to say there are plenty of moves still to come throughout the week.

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