By Mark Gaughan
The Bills will not make a contract offer to receiver Donald Jones and will let him become an unrestricted free agent in March, the team announced today.
Jones is a three-year veteran who started 22 games over the past three seasons, including 10 last season. He made the team as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State in 2010, coach Chan Gailey's first year with the Bills.
Said Bills general manager Buddy Nix in a statement: "We have made the decision not to re-sign Donald. We’re going in a different direction, and this move today gives Donald the opportunity to catch on with another team early on in the process. We thank him for his years with our organization and wish him the best in the future."
Jones caught 41 passes last season for 443 yards and four touchdowns. He was the fourth leading receiver on the team. He was due to become a restricted free agent, and essentially would have been retained as Bills property if the team had made him a one-year qualifying contract offer of $1.33 million.
The decision starts the Bills' process of reshaping the wide receiving corps.
Jones, who is only 25, expected a tender offer.
"'It was pretty upsetting to get the call today," Jones said. "It kind of was a shock. But it is what it is. Now me and my family will move forward to another team and hopefully I get to play against the Bills.
"It's definitely an opportunity to go somewhere else. It stinks that I have to prove myself all over again, but you have to prove yourself every year in this league. I'm not in control of any of this; the man upstairs is. I guess being in Buffalo ultimately is not what He has planned for me. I'll move forward. Hopefully I'll get a great opportunity and be able to win."
Jones wound up playing 66 percent of the Bills' plays, even though he missed four games to injury.
"I’m definitely happy with the opportunity they gave me in Buffalo," Jones said. "They gave me a chance to get some great film out there and I took as much advantage as I can. The next team I get to they’ll see exactly what I can do, from catching the ball, making big runs, making big blocks, making tackles on special teams."
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