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Dan Carpenter among players released by Buffalo Bills Monday

The Bills are kicking off their free agency period early.

Kicker Dan Carpenter and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman headline a round of cuts the Buffalo Bills made Monday, prior to the opening of free agency this week. Also on the chopping block were long snapper Garrison Sanborn, tight end Gerald Christian, and safety Philip Thomas.

All told, the Bills freed up about $6 million in salary cap space, giving them about $24 million to work with but adding five more roster spots to fill. Carpenter ($2.4 million), Robey-Coleman ($1.65 million), and Sanborn ($950,000) were the big money savers while Christian and Thomas were both on minimum deals ($540,000 each).

Carpenter is probably the least surprising of the bunch, and accounts for about half of the cap savings this year. He struggled mightily with extra points once the distance was increased to 33 yards prior to last season, and his field goal percentage cratered in 2016 at 76% (19 of 25). The team should be able to find a replacement among the rookie crop, probably in the UDFA crowd.

Robey-Coleman spent four seasons with the Bills, entering the league as an undrafted free agent from USC in 2013. He managed to hold on to a roster spot despite standing at only 5’8”, carving out a role as the team’s nickel back under the previous coaching regimes. Considering the team seems set to lose Stephon Gilmore to free agency, the Bills should be bringing in a few new players at the position for 2017.

Sanborn was one of the longest-tenured Bills, having been the team’s long snapper since 2009. His 128 games played is the sixth-highest total among Bills player during “The Drought”. Reid Ferguson, an undrafted free agent from last season who rejoined the team on a futures contract in January, will likely take his spot moving forward.

Christian joined the team during last season, appearing in three games and recording one catch for 14 yards. Thomas didn’t make an appearance for the Bills last season. Both players were on league-minimum contracts and will make way for two more players in the same boat.

Despite having relatively little cap room (12th-least in the league as of right now), Buffalo could easily pull together $14 million more by restructuring the contracts of Marcell Dareus and Cordy Glenn.