ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills will head into the regular season short on experience at quarterback after trimming the roster on Friday.
They did, however, ensure that one key offensive player will remain in the mix.
On the same day the new-look Bills re-signed center Eric Wood to a four-year contract extension, Buffalo placed quarterback Kevin Kolb on season-ending injured reserve and released his potential replacement, Matt Leinart.
Kolb's future was in doubt after suffering a concussion in Buffalo's third preseason game. It was the third concussion of his seven-year career.
Leinart topped the list of 18 players released by the Bills. He joined Buffalo Sunday as an injury replacement. The former first-round pick struggled in his only game with the Bills on Thursday night against Detroit, completing 3 of 10 passes for 11 yards and two interceptions.
The Bills remain hopeful that first-round pick EJ Manuel will return from a left knee injury in time to start against the New England Patriots in Week 1 on Sept. 8. Manuel threw passes on the field prior to Thursday's game but has yet to return to practice. If Manuel is unable to play, the Bills will start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel.
Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis appears set to make the opening day roster, as well, following the moves with Kolb and Leinart. Lewis, 25, has one career NFL start and outperformed Leinart in Thursday's loss. The Bills acquired Lewis in a trade with Detroit on Sunday.
Wide receiver Brad Smith was placed on injured reserve. The eight-year veteran suffered a rib injury against the Lions.
Wood signed a new deal late Friday afternoon that will keep him under contract through 2017. At 27, he is Buffalo's best offensive lineman and is one of the team's most valued leaders.
"We're thrilled to have Eric in the fold for many years to come," Bills president Russ Brandon said. "He embodies everything that we talk about. He's tough, he's aggressive, he's a competitor and he's a dynamic leader."
It was vital that the Bills lock up their top offensive lineman after one of Wood's former teammates, guard Andy Levitre, left in free agency. Levitre signed a six-year, $46.8 million contract with Tennessee in March.