The Buffalo Bills currently have two running backs signed to their roster in Nyheim Hines and James Cook. Neither back has carried the football in a (more) featured role for their team. That’s true also for Hines’ tenure with the Indianapolis Colts. Furthermore, both have a very similar size profile and each are seen as pass-catching backs, where questions remain if they can handle featured roles in an offense where issues of wear-and-tear might might be an elevated concern. General manager Brandon Beane went so far as to mention the issue of size during his press conference following the first wave of free agency.
Reporter: Brandon, what about the idea of Nyheim and James and kinda (their) similar skill set. You’ve had Zack (Moss) in the past, or Devin (Singletary) (who’ve filled the role) like a power back. Is that something that you feel you need to add to the running back room to have that versatile skill set?
Beane: We’ll definitely add more depth. I mean, you’re (looking at) right now just a couple backs on the roster so we’ll continue to add there and look for different skill sets that you’re alluding to — I hear what you’re getting at. Yeah, we’ll monitor that, and (I’m) totally aware that we’ve got a couple guys that are around 200 (pounds), so yeah, we’ll probably add somebody that’s a little heavier than that at some point between now and training camp.
(Now-former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has entered the chat.) Elliott, a once nearly unstoppable force out of the backfield fell out of favor rather quickly in Dallas. Part of it was due to injury and part of it was due to the ascendance of backfield mate Tony Pollard. Now, Elliott finds himself as a free agent with no plan — and a suddenly massive cut in pay.
Could the Bills and Elliott help one another? Zeke Elliott, at 6’ and 225 pounds, fits the profile well as the type of back Beane hopes to add at some point prior to training camp. Elliott without a doubt could help Buffalo’s offense, minimally as a short-yardage and red zone/goal line back. His production has dropped precipitously in recent seasons, but he’s still just 27 years old and his talent makes him a threat on any snap.
But could Buffalo help Elliott? As with all thing Buffalo Bills this offseason, could they financially afford to sign Elliott with having only between $9 million and $10 million in available cap space with a host of incoming draft picks, undrafted free agents, practice squad players, and in-season injury replacements in need of those funds?
While it might seem unlikely that the Bills could land someone of Elliott’s caliber this offseason, it’s not impossible. Looking beyond financial expectations (and they are significant), Elliott’s going to want to play for a contender — and he’s for sure will want a shot to prove his value as a premiere running back.
Considering the idea at all seems wise and obvious for One Bills Drive.