Moments after word emerged on Twitter that the Buffalo Bills will release veteran linebacker Nick Barnett, Tim Graham of The Buffalo News followed up with another defensive starter that's on the outs: George Wilson will be released by the Bills, as well.
This decision is far less surprising than the Barnett release; Wilson, 32 in March, had triggered an escalator in his contract that raised his 2013 salary to $2.9 million. A starter at strong safety for the last two seasons, Wilson - a former receiver that became a safety under Dick Jauron - finishes his Bills career with 412 tackles, 12 interceptions, 3.5 sacks and two defensive touchdowns.
The Bills already have an in-house candidate to replace Wilson in 2011 fourth-round pick Da'Norris Searcy, who split starter's reps with Wilson for a good portion of the 2012 season. Jairus Byrd is an impending free agent and Searcy is unproven, however, so don't be surprised if significant changes come at this position, as well.
With Wilson and Barnett out, the Bills have saved $6.4 million in base salary that would have otherwise been on the books in 2013; if things go right, they'll use that money on their own impending free agent duo of Byrd and guard Andy Levitre.