NFL

Bills release five players, including CB Nickell Robey-Coleman and K Dan Carpenter

Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) celebrates after an interception in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams during a NFL game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Bills defeated the Rams 30-19. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) celebrates after an interception in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams during a NFL game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Bills defeated the Rams 30-19. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Free agency begins Thursday 9 when the new league year opens, and the Buffalo Bills just added five players to the crop.

On Monday, the Bills announced five moves, releasing kicker Dan Carpenter, slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman, long snapper Garrison Sanborn, tight end Gerald Christian and safety Phillip Thomas. The moves free up about $5 million in cap space.

The most notable of the bunch are Carpenter and Robey-Coleman. Both were key last season with Robey-Coleman playing valuable snaps as the nickel cornerback on defense.

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He played all 16 games in each of the past four seasons. His best came in 2016 when he picked off two passes and forced a fumble, returning one of the picks for a touchdown.

Robey-Coleman's release comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering Stephon Gilmore is set to hit free agency in just a few days. Ronald Darby will be one starter in the secondary, but it's unclear who will assume the other two spots at cornerback.

As for Carpenter, he's been the team's primary kicker for the past four seasons. Arguably his worst year as a pro came in 2016 when he made just 76 percent of his field goal attempts and missed five extra points.

It's unclear who will fill his role, but the Bills could be looking to get younger (and better) by way of the draft.