For more than a week, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane has been making calls to acquire a pass catching running back who could provide a little more splash to the offense.
In acquiring Nyheim Hines from the Indianapolis Colts right before the NFL trade deadline expired Tuesday, it appears – at least on the surface – that he achieved that goal.
The Bills sent disappointing running back Zack Moss, their third-round pick in 2020, along with a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2023 in exchange for Hines, a fifth-year pro who was originally a fourth-round pick of the Colts in 2018.
Hines hasn’t been used much as a ballcarrier in Indianapolis as he has only 300 carries for 1,205 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he has been a key figure in the Colts’ passing game. In his 72 games he has 235 receptions for 1,725 yards and seven TDs.
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Also, Hines has been a reliable punt returner as he has performed those duties for most of the past two-plus seasons and he has an impressive career average of 11.8 yards per return. Rookie Khalil Shakir has been returning punts for the Bills, but you can be sure that coach Sean McDermott will likely be more comfortable with a battle-tested veteran like Hines in that role.
Bills also trade for safety Dean Marlowe
Minutes after the Hines deal went down, the Bills also announced that they have re-acquired safety Dean Marlowe from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.
This could be an ominous sign for the availability of veteran Jordan Poyer who suffered an elbow injury against the Packers and could not finish the game. If Poyer is sidelined, joining Micah Hyde, the Bills would be tremendously compromised at safety.
Damar Hamlin has been starting for Hyde and JaQuan Johnson would have to start for Poyer, leaving only Cam Lewis in reserve among players on the 53-man roster. Marlowe played for the Bills between 2018-20 and also played for McDermott for two seasons in Carolina, so he would be an easy plug-and-play option if needed.
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Other Buffalo Bills transactions
The Bills made several other moves. Cornerback Tre’Davious White was activated off the physically unable to perform list and though McDermott said the Bills will still play it day by day, White could finally make his 2022 debut Sunday in New York.
Veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes was reinstated to the practice squad after he had missed nearly a month with a hamstring injury. Defensive tackle Brandin Bryant and wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins were cut from the roster, and cornerback Jordan Miller was cut from the practice squad.
Bryant and Hodgins are likely candidates to be re-signed to the practice squad at some point.
Beane made it clear over the past week that running back was a spot he wanted to upgrade. We know, based on multiple reports, that he called the Carolina Panthers about Christian McCaffrey and the New Orleans Saints about Alvin Kamara, two no-doubt stars, but the price was simply too high for both.
Hines, who stands just 5-foot-9 and weighs 196 pounds, isn’t at the level of those two players, but he is certainly an upgrade over Cook who is still trying to find his way in his first season. It has been clear all year that the Bills are taking it very slowly with Cook as he has played only 69 offensive snaps during Buffalo’s 6-1 start.
As for Moss, he was a healthy inactive in Kansas City, and then dressed for the Green Bay game but didn’t play a snap. After a promising rookie season when he averaged 4.3 yards per attempt, he suffered an injury before 2021 and never really bounced back.
He saw his playing time dip slightly in 2021, and this season, he has been an afterthought carrying just 17 times for 91 yards.
Bills fans might remember Hines from the wild-card playoff game in January 2021. He rushed for 75 yards on just six carries and caught one pass for eight yards in Buffalo’s 27-24 victory.
He played his college ball at North Carolina State and in 38 games he rushed for 1,400 yards (5.4 per attempt) and caught 89 passes for 933 yards with 14 total TDs.
The 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, Hines ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. By comparison, Cook ran a 4.42 in 2022 while Devin Singletary ran a 4.66.
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