ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -Kiwaukee Thomas' contract was terminated by the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, further depleting the team of experienced cornerbacks on the eve of free agency.
Safety Jim Leonhard and reserve running back Shaud Williams will become free agents on Friday after the Bills elected not to issue qualifying offers to retain their rights.
The Bills did retain the rights to defensive tackle Jason Jefferson by making him a qualifying offer. And they re-signed four players: tight end Tim Massaquoi, safety Dustin Fox, receiver Scott Mayle and defensive tackle Corey Mace.
Thomas' release was unexpected after two years with the Bills. He's an eight-year veteran, who had one year left on a contract that was to pay him a base salary of $750,000 this season. He was credited with 37 tackles and one interception in nine games, including three starts, last season.
Thomas, however, missed the final seven games because of a groin injury.
The Bills were already expected to bolster their depth at cornerback in free agency and the draft in April. Without Thomas, Buffalo is down to three experienced cornerbacks, including starter Terrence McGee.
Leonhard's departure came as a slight surprise, although the Bills are expected to attempt to re-sign him for less than the $927,000 he was due had the team extended him a qualifying offer. Joining the Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2005, Leonhard is coming off a strong season as a part-time starter in a banged-up defensive backfield.
In 13 games last season, including six starts, Leonhard finished with 56 tackles and two interceptions.
Williams was expendable after the Bills cut him prior to the start of the season before re-signing him in December following a season-ending injury to backup Anthony Thomas.
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