BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills added insurance to their raw, injury-depleted depth at quarterback by signing free agent Dennis Dixon to their practice squad on Tuesday.
The Bills (2-3) made two other moves in shuffling their roster during an off-day before they prepare to host Cincinnati (3-2) on Sunday.
Buffalo signed linebacker Ty Powell off the New York Giants' practice squad, and promoted cornerback Brandon Smith off their own squad. The team freed up space on its roster by releasing linebacker Marcus Dowtin and cornerback Johnny Adams.
Powell is listed at 6-foot-2 and 249 pounds. He played at both Harding and DeAnza College before being selected by Seattle in the seventh round of the draft in April. He was cut by the Seahawks before the start of the season.
Quarterback continues to be the Bills' key concern after rookie starter EJ Manuel sprained his right knee in a 37-24 loss at Cleveland on Thursday. Manuel is expected to miss at least two weeks and likely longer after coach Doug Marrone said Monday it was too early to determine a timetable for the player's recovery.
The Bills have turned to Thad Lewis to start against Cincinnati after promoting him off the practice squad Monday. The team has only one other quarterback on its roster, undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel, who struggled filling in for Manuel against Cleveland.
Dixon's signing came after he and fellow free-agent quarterback Pat White worked out at the Bills facility on Sunday. The Bills also expressed interest in signing former Tampa Bay starter Josh Freeman, who elected to instead sign with Minnesota.
Dixon had three starts in four games over three seasons in Pittsburgh, who selected the Oregon product in the fifth round of the 2008 draft. He has completed 35 of 59 attempts with a touchdown and two interceptions.
He spent the 2012 season on Baltimore's practice squad, and then signed with Philadelphia this past off-season before being cut by the Eagles on Aug. 31.
Dixon's signing helps address the team's depth at the position, and provides him an opportunity to learn the Bills' up-tempo style of offence.
Marrone hasn't provided Lewis any assurances as to whether he'll remain the team's interim starter beyond this weekend.