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Buffalo Bills release DT Star Lotulelei

The Bills have added several defensive tackles in the last few days

The Buffalo Bills announced on Friday that they had released veteran defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. With Lotulelei released and Harrison Phillips in Minneapolis with the Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo’s 1-tech defensive tackle position is going to look brand new in 2022.

Defensive tackle Eli Ankou is the only holdover, after spending 2021 on the practice squad but playing on call-ups frequently.

Asked about Lotulelei after the free-agent signings of DaQuan Jones, Tim Settle, and Jordan Phillips, Bills head coach Sean McDermott was very lukewarm on the veteran’s future Thursday.

“We’ll see. We’ll just take it one step at a time,” said McDermott.

Lotulelei originally joined the Bills in 2018 as a steadying force in the middle of head coach Sean McDermott’s defense. He spent four years in McDermott’s system with the Carolina Panthers before McDermott came to the Bills, and he was one of the Brandon Beane draft picks, as well. He had varying degrees of success in 2018 and 2019 before taking the 2020 season away from football due to concerns over COVID-19. He returned to the field in 2021 and played okay for the first half of the season, before ceding his job to Phillips after Lotulelei’s play suffered following a diagnosis of COVID.

The move does not clear much cap space for the Bills, because a portion of his salary was already guaranteed for 2022. His contract had lined up better with the rest of the roster before he took the year off for COVID. The Bills will receive just $1.5 million in cap space.

In total, Lotulelei was a guy who never quite lived up to his big contract. He was a whipping boy for fans who didn’t always see his impact, even when he played above average. Even that type of play didn’t happen enough. Buffalo will move forward with new blood.

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