When the Buffalo Bills decided not to match the New England Patriots’ offer for backup running back Mike Gillislee, it opened up a hole that the team previously had very well-covered. Gilliselee’s departure opens up the possibility of earning time for someone like Joe Banyard.
Although the Bills are perfectly set at the top of their running back depth chart with starter LeSean McCoy, the NFL is often a game of whose depth can outlast whose, and the Bills seem to be lacking in that department in many areas. Banyard signed on March 17, a day near and dear to my heart for other reasons.
The five-year veteran out of Texas-El Paso (a school which always makes me think of this) has a tough road ahead of him to make the Bills’ 53-man roster this season.
Name: Joe Banyard
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 221 pounds
College: University of Texas-El Paso
Draft: 2012 UDFA (initially signed with Jacksonville Jaguars)
Financial Situation (per Spotrac): Banyard signed a 1 year contract worth $690,000. It is non-guaranteed.
2016 Recap: Banyard’s 2016 season consisted of one game with the Jaguars, a 24-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in week 17. He carried 2 times for 7 yards in the contest.
Positional Outlook: Behind McCoy, the Bills have Banyard, Mike Tolbert, Jonathan Williams, Cedric O’Neal, and Jordan Johnson (profiled here) who can play running back. Patrick DiMarco is slated to start as the team’s fullback. Assuming the team will keep McCoy, Tolbert, and DiMarco, that leaves one or two spots for the other four players.
2017 Offseason: Banyard worked in fairly heavy rotation with the backup units during minicamp in June.
2017 Season Outlook: Even though Tolbert is listed as a fullback on the depth chart, he will probably serve as the primary short-yardage back, with Jonathan Williams serving as McCoy’s backup. This leaves Banyard in a fight for a hypothetical fifth spot on the roster in the backfield. His performance in the preseason very well may determine whether or not he makes the Bills’ roster this season.