Coming into today, the Buffalo Bills had one linebacker on its roster that could conceivably play three downs. Now that they've released Nick Barnett, they have zero.
Barnett tweeted the news himself this afternoon, saying: "Truly a pleasure being apart of that organization and culture.. Very unfortunate we didn't get the Bills to the playoffs but I know you guys will have many successful years ahead of you. Thanks #billsmafia for all your support."
Signed as an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 lockout to replace Paul Posluszny, Barnett, 32 in May, was scheduled to make $3.5 million in base salary in 2013, which would have been the final year of that contract. In his two seasons with the Bills, Barnett accumulated 242 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions - one of which he returned for a touchdown.
Buffalo's situation at linebacker - which we'll be taking another look at as soon as we can - looks very different without Barnett in the picture. Doug Marrone hired two linebackers coaches (Jim O'Neil and Chuck Driesbach) to work under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine; it's looking like the team will undergo rather dramatic changes at the position, with that process beginning today.