The Buffalo Bills released defensive end Mark Anderson on Tuesday, less than a week before the start of training camp. Anderson was supposed to form a dynamic pass-rush duo with Mario Williams, but the experiment ended after just one season.
Coming off an excellent 2011 season, Anderson signed a four-year deal worth $19.5 million last offseason, including $7.9 million guaranteed. He tallied 10.0 sacks for the New England Patriots in 2011, but finished last season with just 1.0 sack while appearing in five games. He missed the final 11 games of the season due to a knee injury, although he was active late in the year and participated fully in offseason workouts.
The 30-year-old defensive end has been up-and-down during seven-year career. He posted double-digit sacks twice, but didn't have more than 5.0 sacks in any other season. Last week, Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Buffalo was planning to use Anderson as a situational pass-rusher, calling him an "elite" rusher when healthy.
Health may have been a factor in Tuesday's release, or it could have just been part of the process of transitioning to a new coaching staff. Either way, Anderson may struggle to catch on with a new team quickly as most rosters are set heading into camp and there hasn't been much of a market for aging pass-rushers. Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora were on the market for weeks while John Abraham is still searching for a new team.