The 2017 Buffalo Bills offense was not extremely productive, but they would have been even worse off if it weren’t for the once-in-a-generation talent of LeSean McCoy.
If for some reason McCoy and Buffalo were to part ways, the offense would need a new dynamic playmaker in the backfield. Mike Tolbert’s age and Patrick DiMarco’s vastly different skill set make them impossible to fill McCoy’s shoes. But, two somewhat realistic options for replacement* could have already been on the Bills roster this past season.
* - Replacement in this case means “starting running back”, not “dynamic running back”. Neither of these guys has ever been a featured running back let alone a starter.
Cadet emerged as a breath of fresh air in the backfield when he was signed in early November. Cadet, who was brought in due to an injury to RB Mike Tolbert, had a burst of speed that Tolbert could not match. Cadet’s speed was helpful in the offensive scheme because he could get to the edge when Tolbert was forced to take a loss of yardage on outside run plays. However, Cadet is currently a unrestricted free agent and would have to be re-signed in order to make a push for Shady’s job.
Cadet’s season was cut short on Christmas Eve against the New England Patriots due a scary leg injury. Cadet’s injury gave Buffalo a chance to look at another potential replacement for McCoy.
Murphy was activated from the practice squad for the Week 17 tilt against the Miami Dolphins. Murphy performed well, rushing seven times for 41 yards. Murphy’s number wasn’t called during the Wild Card Game against Jacksonville, so he didn’t have any more chances to prove his worth on the field.
Murphy is the only running back currently under contract along with McCoy, so if some moves aren’t made to bring any new faces in, you could get used to seeing a lot of Shady and Murphy in 2018.
- Video analysis: Shady was awesome in 2017
- Bills wouldn’t save enough cap space to justify McCoy’s release
- Free agent options at running back aren’t as good as Shady
- Bills would have to trade up to get an NFL Draft RB as good as McCoy
- 2018 NFL Draft options to replace Shady would involve a trade up
- Shady is good; add a change of pace back