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Buffalo Bills sign free agent running back Chris Ivory to two-year deal

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The Bills have a backup running back.

The Buffalo Bills have signed former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Chris Ivory to a contract. ESPN insider Adam Schefter and (separately) NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported the news shortly before the team officially announced it. The Bills hosted Ivory on a free agent visit at the end of February, as one of the stops on his short tour. The Bills confirmed the signing Thursday morning.

Rapoport reports that the deal for the soon-to-be 30-year-old running back covers two years. With Ivory poised to claim a backup role behind LeSean McCoy, this likely spells the end of Mike Tolbert’s time in Buffalo; the RB/FB is set to be a free agent this year.

Ivory, who was cut by the Jaguars earlier in this year, will not count against the Bills when calculating the compensatory pick formula in the 2019 NFL Draft. He’s the second free agent signing this year to fill that profile, after cornerback Vontae Davis.

Ivory had signed a five-year, $32 million contract with the Jaguars in 2016, but his new deal with Buffalo will cost much less. Rapoport reports that the deal is worth $5.5 million, with $3.25M guaranteed in the first year. Incentives would maximize the contract at $6 million.

After a solid three-year stint with the New York Jets, Ivory ran 117 times for 439 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, and 112/381/1 in 2017. Ivory also was used as a receiving target out of the backfield, accumulating 41 receptions for 361 yards and a touchdown over the past two seasons.