In his 12 games with the Buffalo Bills, veteran tight end Matthew Mulligan had carved out a limited, yet significant and important role in the team's offense as a blocking tight end. He had played over a quarter of the snaps this season, and generally fared well.
It was a bit surprising, then, when the Bills abruptly released him in favor of practice squad rookie tight end Nick O'Leary, a 2015 sixth-round draft pick that did very little this past preseason. O'Leary takes Mulligan's place on the active roster immediately, and barring some other maneuver will likely play this weekend in Philadelphia.
The prevailing notion would be that O'Leary, a productive college tight end at Florida State, was seeing offers from one or more teams, and the Bills chose to elevate him to their active roster and cut Mulligan instead of losing O'Leary outright. Whatever the rationale, it's a bit interesting to see the Bills making this type of move, given how solid the Bills' running game has been this season. Mulligan had a role in helping to shape that, and now O'Leary will need to deliver in that same role.
Then again, the Bills could pretty easily bring back Mulligan by jettisoning one of their other players this week. Running back Mike Gillislee might be a prime candidate there, especially if Karlos Williams is healthy enough to return to practice tomorrow.