Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Buffalo Bills Release Brian Moorman

The Buffalo Bills have announced that they've released veteran punter Brian Moorman and re-signed undrafted rookie free agent Shawn Powell to replace him.

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12 Total Updates since September 25, 2012
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Bills Feared Losing P Powell

For two days, the only subtext (some may refer to it as "rumor") that we've heard regarding the Buffalo Bills' release of punter Brian Moorman had to do with a supposed "rift" between the veteran and special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven - one that apparently led the Bills to "set Moorman up to fail," in the eyes of two anonymous AP sources.

Chris Brown, the lead journalist over at BuffaloBills.com, had a slightly different take on the situation on Friday: the team didn't want to lose Powell.

"There were three NFL teams in need of a punter this past week, namely Detroit, Dallas and Philadelphia, due either to injury or poor performance," Brown wrote in his weekly column. "Buffalo had invested time and energy into Powell, and almost drafted him last spring. They envisioned him as their punter of the future and did not want another NFL club signing him away."

The irony, of course, is that as soon as the Bills dumped Moorman to retain Powell, one of those three teams - Dallas - scooped up Moorman.

"Unfortunately the needs of other clubs sped up the process of Powell taking over for Moorman as the team’s new punter because Buffalo would’ve lost him to one of those clubs," Brown continued. "It’s unfortunate, but as Buddy said, he has to do what’s best for the team at all times. And being without a punter next year and beyond would’ve left them with another hole, when they had their long term answer at the position right under their nose."

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Friction Between Moorman, DeHaven?

The Buffalo Bills don't make their assistant coaches available to reporters until Friday during game week, so yesterday was the first opportunity for special teams coordinator Bruce DeHaven to comment publicly following Tuesday's release of punter Brian Moorman.

DeHaven was asked about an Associated Press report published earlier in the week citing anonymous sources claiming that DeHaven had set Moorman up to fail, and that a "rift" existed between the two. The veteran coach denied it.

"I can't speak for Brian, but I know if there was anything there between him and I, it didn't come from me," DeHaven said. He also said, "I don't want to say anything that would denigrate Brian in any way. He had a great career here. He's got a great reputation in town. The move has been made and I don't want to say anything that might be misconstrued as something negative about Brian, to be honest with you."

John Wawrow, who culled the "rift" report with the anonymous sources, received a text message reply to DeHaven's comments from Moorman's agent, Ron Baccuia. It read as follows: "Now isn't the time to discuss Bruce DeHaven, but it's nice to hear that he's done saying things to denigrate Brian."

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Redskins Wanted Moorman Trade In 2011

John Wawrow of The Associated Press reported on Wednesday evening that the Buffalo Bills considered trading now-released punter Brian Moorman after the NFL lockout ended in 2011, but eventually passed up the opportunity.

Moorman, released by the Bills on Tuesday, would have been re-united with former Bills special teams coach Danny Smith in Washington had the trade gone through. It's not clear what the Redskins might have offered, but they took the initiative on the discussions, per Wawrow; clearly, Smith was interested in bringing in his former star punter.

Instead, the Bills called off those discussions when they decided that Moorman's experience and leadership were too valuable to lose in a transition year for the team's coverage units. A year later, he was released after just three regular season games.

Moorman signed a contract with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, where it looks like he'll be a short-term injury fill-in for their very good young punter, Chris Jones.

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Moorman Signs With Dallas

It's not quite to the level of the day when Thurman Thomas signed with the Miami Dolphins, but this one still stings: former Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman has signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Tim Graham of The Buffalo News and Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com broke the news on Wednesday afternoon.

Terms of the deal are not disclosed, but as we discussed yesterday, whatever Moorman will be making in Big D will add to the nearly $1.2 million the Bills still owe him for the final year of his salary in Buffalo. As a vested veteran, Moorman is entitled to his full salary, even after being released. As it turns out, Moorman's release in Buffalo may yield him the best fiscal football season of his career.

Still, Bills fans are going to see a Cowboys game at some point throughout the next 14-plus weeks - they're televised nationally on a seemingly weekly basis - and it's going to be tough to see the Moormanator wearing a star on his helmet. Really tough.

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Moorman Landing In Big D?

Per Tim Graham of The Buffalo News, former Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman may be on the verge of agreeing to terms on a contract with the Dallas Cowboys. For now, he's simply in Big D for a workout.

@ByTimGraham: I've been told former Bills punter Brian Moorman is in Dallas to work out for the Cowboys and may already be close to signing.

Right now, the Cowboys employ a punter by the name of Chris Jones, a second-year player out of Carson-Newman that spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad. Upon promoting him to the active roster late last season, the Cowboys promptly handed Jones a three-year, $1.4 million contract, implying that he'd be the punter for the foreseeable future.

Jones currently ranks fourth in the NFL with a 44.4-yard net punting average, and has pinned five of his 11 boots inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Those are two areas that Moorman has struggled in; he's got a 32.7-yard net average at the moment, and is 2-of-15 in pinning kicks inside the 20-yard line.

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Bills React To Moorman Release

Buffalo Bills punter Brian Moorman - a well-regarded player who held that position for more than a decade - was released on Tuesday. Four Bills players took to their Twitter accounts to react to the news.

When news of the release broke, the two players that provided instant reactions in line with the thoughts of fans were running back Fred Jackson and linebacker Nick Barnett.

@Fred22Jackson: WTF??? Released Mooreman??? For What??
@NickBarnett: Wow we released Moorman?? Wow

Eric Wood, the team's starting center, was asked by a fan for his reaction to the news.

@EWood70: very tough saying bye to a good friend today. I wish him nothing but the best

And, when C.J. Spiller woke up from his Tuesday afternoon nap and heard the news a bit later, he wrapped up the player reactions we're privy to quite nicely.

@CJSPILLER: Just woke up from a great nap but to learn the sad news that we release Moorman he was def a great teammate but even better person.
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GM Nix Sees Upside In Shawn Powell

In speaking with reporters after Tuesday's release of veteran punter Brian Moorman, Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix spoke glowingly about Moorman's replacement, rookie Shawn Powell.

"The upside's really good on this guy," Nix said. "He's a big man - which I think that helps punters - good height, and he's a 240-pounder. Got a very strong leg, tremendous hang time; I mean, the guy's Florida State's all-time leading punter."

Nix even disclosed that Powell was a player that the team considered spending a pick on in last April's 2012 NFL Draft.

"We really liked him," Nix said. "In fact, we even considered drafting him late last year. The upside's really good on the guy."

Clearly, the Bills believe they've made a move for the long-term betterment of the club by bringing Powell back and releasing Moorman, who had been in decline for a few seasons. We can only imagine, however, what Bills fans might have thought had the Bills drafted a kickoff specialist and a punter this past spring.

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Bills Owe Moorman Balance Of Base Salary

Make no mistake about it: the Buffalo Bills did not release punter Brian Moorman because of financial implications.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed out via Twitter when the news broke earlier this afternoon, Moorman will still make the balance of his $1.425 million base salary this year despite getting released. That means that for the next 14 weeks, the Bills will be sending Moorman a check for roughly $83,820 - and if he is signed by another team at any point, he'll collect a paycheck from his new employer on top of what the Bills will still be paying him.

Finances, then, were a complete non-factor in the Bills' decision to release Moorman after a slow start to the season. The chief reason, then, was performance: Moorman currently ranks 30th in the NFL in net punting average (32.7 yards), and he'd only knocked two in 15 punts out inside the 20-yard line this season. The Bills will be counting on rookie Shawn Powell to improve both figures from this point forward.

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