After the 2015 season, the Buffalo Bills were the best rushing offense in the league with ultra-conservative Tyrod Taylor at QB. With a rush first mentality and little to no salary cap space because of contracts like Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus, the Bills were forced to let Chris Hogan walk. Doug Whaley would not pay Hogan and he walked right into the arms of the New England Patriots. Now, he is a free agent again. Should the Bills consider bringing him back?
In Buffalo, Hogan quickly donned the nickname “7-11” for being “always open.” He burst onto the scene in 2014 but was a practice squad signing in 2012. 426 yards, 41 catches and 4 touchdowns in 2014 were astounding numbers for him. To Bills fans it seemed like Chris Hogan always produced when it mattered most. Fans were sad to see him leave and sign with the rival New England Patriots in 2016.
He signed for 3 years and $12 million. The current free agent has played in at least 15 games in five out his six full seasons. Hogan averaged 15.33 yards per reception in his 3 seasons in New England. This shows he has sneaky field stretching ability still. His 17.9 yards per catch in 2016 was 2nd best in the NFL and he was 22nd in 2018.
This season, he was 2nd in the NFL in separation yards created. 2nd only to Evan Engram (tight end), which means he was the #1 wide receiver in the NFL in separation. In 2016 he was 22nd overall. This shows despite his elite stats, he still can get open at an elite level. According to these stats, he really is earning his nickname. He also scored four, five, and three touchdowns in New England respectively.
Although not producing next level stats, Chris Hogan was still a consistent and reliable target for Tom Brady. Hogan having a bad season in 2018 while having the most WR separation in the NFL means he was open but just didn’t get the ball enough. It may also mean that Hogan might have some productive seasons left. His ability to get open and stretch the field could prove to be beneficial for young Josh Allen.
Coming off a disappointing 2018 season, Hogan might be cheaper than originally thought. If the Bills can get him cheap, adding him to the wide receiver core could be a worthy reunion.
Stats were received from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HogaCh00.htm and https://nextgenstats.nfl.com/stats/receiving/2018/all