|Donald Jones won't be a Bill next season. |
Jones, an undrafted free agent in 2010, is coming off a season in which he recorded a career-high 41 receptions for 443 yards and four touchdowns. The former Youngstown State receiver also set career-highs for receiving yards and touchdowns.
"We have made the decision not to re-sign Donald," Bills general manager Buddy Nix said in a press release. "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.
Under first-year coach Doug Marrone, the Bills are hoping to make drastic improvements with an offense that averaged 204.3 passing yards per game in 2012 (25th overall). Using a high-tempo, pro-style offense, Marrone's team at Syracuse averaged more than 36 points per game over their final seven contests in 2012.
While Nix has indicated that the Bills must address their need at quarterback in the offseason, he added that it doesn't necessary mean he will select one with the No. 8 overall pick in April's NFL Draft. Ryan Fitzpatrick's seven-year, $62.195 million contract lasts through the 2017 season.
“I think we really need to address it this year,” Nix told WGR-AM in Buffalo in November. “You've got guys spread out all over the league that have been successful that didn't go in the first round or the first five or 10 picks. That is the hard part, now.”
The pool of wide receivers is extremely deep in free agency if the Bills look to pursue a top-shelf wideout to replace Jones. Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings and Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker are among the wideouts that could be available in free agency.
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