With the recent purge of veterans on the defensive side of the ball, many Buffalo Bills fans have begun speculating who could be next in line. One name that's continued to pop up is defensive end Mark Anderson, but it's extremely unlikely Buddy Nix will be parting ways with the defender this off-season.
To refresh your memory, Buffalo courted and signed Anderson a year ago to a four-year, $19.5 million contract. As part of that deal, they paid him $6 million in signing bonus and $2 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses. If you're good at math, you'll see the Bills already shelled out $8 million for one season of Anderson, and it's unlikely they will take that investment lightly.
Anderson's season was marred by a nagging knee injury that required two surgeries. He was active for just six games, played in five and recorded a single sack and only nine tackles. After investing so heavily in Anderson, it's unlikely the Bills would just cut bait despite the injuries - one of the main complaints lodged by fans.
The other thing working against an outright release of Anderson is that same $6 million signing bonus. It was broken out over the four years of his contract for a $1.5 million salary cap hit each season. If he were cut, the Bills would have to pay the entire remaining cap hit now to the tune of $4.5 million. Anderson's 2013 cap figure is $4.5 million - combining the prorated portion of his signing bonus and $3 million in salary and other bonuses. The Bills have the same cap hit for Anderson whether he's on the roster or not.
Anderson has never played as part of a 3-4 defensive alignment, but he projects in the pass rushing outside linebacker role. He's rarely been asked to drop into coverage, so he will likely be a member of a platoon going after quarterbacks in this fall. But make no mistake: Anderson will be out there, if only because it doesn't make fiscal sense to get rid of him.