When the Buffalo Bills did not match the New England Patriots’ offer sheet to restricted free agent Mike Gillislee this offseason, it provided an opportunity for a change-of-pace running back to complement LeSean McCoy. The Bills may have found that complement in journeyman Travaris Cadet.
After allowing Gillislee to leave, the Bills made the decision to cut second-year running back Jonathan Williams following a productive preseason, which cut into the running back depth chart further.
Veteran free agent Mike Tolbert was brought in to provide the thunder to Shady’s lightning-quick style of rushing, but through the first 11 weeks of the NFL season, the “Toldozer” has not proven to be an effective complimentary back to McCoy, rushing 50 times for 179 yards (3.6 yards per carry), while adding 12 receptions for 61 yards in nine games.
With Tolbert struggling and now hurt, battling a hamstring injury, sixth-year free agent Travaris Cadet was brought in to provide some depth at running back, and during Sunday’s otherwise disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Cadet might have proven himself capable of handling a portion of the tailback duties.
Cadet, who was cut by the New York Jets in October following their Week 6 loss to the New England Patriots, rushed three times for 17 yards vs. the Chargers, an average of 5.7 yards per rush, displaying a quick step that Tolbert has never had during his NFL career. Cadet also hauled in six passes for 39 yards as a receiving threat.
He rushed for a 12-yard gain off the right edge, and added a 16-yard reception on a pass out of the backfield in the second half of the loss to the Chargers. Cadet caught all six passes thrown his way, and seemed comfortable working with Tyrod Taylor.
Cadet’s most productive season came with the New Orleans Saints in 2014, when he caught 38 passes for 296 yards.
Cadet was signed as an insurance policy for McCoy, but if he produces like he did in his Bills debut, he could have a lasting impact in Buffalo’s backfield as the long sought-after compliment to Shady.