The Buffalo Bills have such a talented roster heading into the 2022 NFL season that the players who failed to make the 53-man roster immediately became the hottest commodities on the waiver wire. One day after the Bills made their final round of cuts, four released players were quickly snatched up by other teams.
ALL the latest Bills news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bills newsletter here!
In news that will surprise no one, the New York Giants claimed yet another promising young Bills player, 24-year-old cornerback Nick McCloud. The 6-foot, 193-pound defensive player went undrafted out of Notre Dame before first signing with Buffalo in 2021. A special mix of size and speed, he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash during his pro day. After he failed to make the active roster last season, the Cincinnati Bengals signed him to their active roster.
However, McCloud returned to the Bills’ practice squad following the team’s embarrassing 9-6 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in November. While he was elevated to the active roster for the Bills’ AFC divisional playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, McCloud ultimately didn’t suit up.
While McCloud typically plays cornerback, he moonlighted as a safety during practices this summer, so he will give the Giants head coach Brian Daboll some versatility. Though he was not a recent cut of the Bills, Jack Anderson also signed with the Giants on Wednesday. He was Buffalo’s seventh-round pick from the 2021 draft.
The other three players who instantly found a new home in the NFL include defensive end Kingsley Jonathan, who was picked up by the Chicago Bears; offensive lineman Luke Tenuta, the Bills’ sixth-round pick from 2022 NFL Draft, who is heading to the Indianapolis Colts; and offensive lineman Tanner Owen, who will be taking his talents to the New Orleans Saints.
16 Recently Cut Players Will Be Added to the Bills Practice Squad
For those surprised that running back Raheem Blackshear wasn’t scooped up by another franchise on Wednesday, he will sign with the Bills’ practice squad, according to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg.
In addition to Blackseaher, other players who’ve been announced as returning the practice squad, defensive tackle C.J. Brewer (reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo), wide receiver Tanner Gentry, offensive lineman Alec Anderson, defensive end Mike Love, defensive tackle Brandin Bryant and linebacker Joe Giles-Harris.
Other players expected to join Brewer include backup quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins.
The Bills Still Need a Punter
While the Bills’ 53-man roster is technically set, with Marquez Stevenson expected to start the season on injured reserve, that leaves one final roster spot open for the team to find punter Matt Araiza‘s replacement.
Araiza was accused of gang raping a 17-year-old girl at an off-campus Halloween party on October, 17 2021, details of which were made public after The Los Angeles Times published the bombshell article last week. While Araiza, 22, still traveled with the team to their preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Friday night, Bills general manager Brandon Beane announced a day later that he was no longer a member of the Bills.
Since then, the Bills have been holding tryouts for a new punter. While recently cut Titans Pro Bowl punter Brett Kern was considered an option, “His father, Cal, was just on @wlvl’s morning show. He said Brett is NOT signing with @BuffaloBills. Titans are encouraging Brett, whom they cut, to stay on the ready in the event their rookie doesn’t cut it. Plus, Brett likes the family life he now has in Tennessee,” as tweeted by a show’s listener.
Another punter, former Denver Broncos veteran Sam Martin, visited Buffalo on Wednesday, per NFL Draft Diamonds.
UPDATE: The Bills signed Martin to a one-year deal on Wednesday evening.
READ NEXT: Former Bills QB Released By New York Giants Despite Strong Preseason