To the surprise of virtually no one, the Buffalo Bills on Sunday announced that they have released veteran defensive tackle Alan Branch.
The move comes after a series of offseason missteps, capped off yesterday by a DUI arrest that caused him to miss last night's preseason loss to Tampa Bay. Even prior to that, however, Branch had clearly fallen out of favor with the Bills' coaching staff, falling all the way down to the third-team defensive line after missing spring practices, then reporting to training camp out of shape enough so as to fail the team's conditioning test.
It's been all downhill for Branch since signing a three-year, $9.3 million contract extension (which included a $3.1 million signing bonus) last December. The re-signing came nearly two months prior to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine departing for the head coaching job in Cleveland; under Pettine, Branch projected as a starter, but in the scheme run by his replacement, Jim Schwartz, he was going to be a reserve.
Branch had been consistently outplayed by little-known defensive tackles Stefan Charles, Corbin Bryant, and Landon Cohen throughout the summer.