The Buffalo Bills released punter Matt Haack and wide receiver Tavon Austin ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to cut their roster down to 80 players. By releasing the pair of veterans, Buffalo’s roster now stands at 82 players.
Haack, 28, joined the Bills last year and had a subpar season as the team’s punter. He had a punt blocked against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 that was returned for a touchdown, a score that proved to be the difference in Buffalo’s 23-16 defeat. He was at or near the bottom of the league in both gross and net average yards per punt last year, and his strength, pinning opponents inside the 20, wasn’t as strong as in years past, as he only managed to keep 17 of his 50 attempts inside that range.
Austin, 31, signed with Buffalo this summer, and he had a strong camp from most reports. His best shot at making the roster, though, was as a kick returner, and with both Isaiah McKenzie and Khalil Shakir showing huge success as both a receiver and a returner, it limited Austin’s prospects. Add in the fact that Isaiah Hodgins is having a phenomenal preseason, and the odds were stacked against Austin.
With Haack’s release, that means that rookie Matt Araiza has won the punting competition. Haack was noted as an excellent holder on kicks, but once Araiza showed he could be successful in that aspect and unleash 82-yard bombs, it was enough for the Bills to release the veteran in Haack.