BREAKING: Bills sign WR Deonte Harty
The Buffalo Bills will sign WR/KR/PR Deonte Harty when the new league year officially begins. Yes Harty. No, it’s not a typo. Deonte HARRIS changed his name a couple years ago. Now that we’ve cleared that up, people can stop asking “who the f—k is this guy!?” and we can get into why this signing is a good thing for the Bills.
Now, at first glance, a two-year $13.5M deal is… questionable. Thankfully, no one in Bills Mafia overreacted straight away and hated the signing just because of the numbers, right? Right.
The breakdown, as detailed by Spotrac, is $4.75M guaranteed with $3.7M cap hit in ‘23 and $5.3M in ‘24. Essentially, the Bills can cut him after one season and only take a $1.37M dead cap charge whilst saving at least $4M in cap space. This is some magic by Big Baller Beane on a “prove it” deal. Not to mention that this is an incentive HEAVY deal.
He’s productive as heck
The 5’6”, 170 lbs wideout emerged as one of the game’s top returners when entering the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2019, earning himself All-Pro, Pro Bowl, and All-Rookie honours.
Talking stats, Harty’s 2020 season was marred by injuries and COVID but he was back in full form in 2021. Averaging 9.5 yards per punt return and 23.8 yards per kick return. But, most importantly (what I’m sure all of Bills Mafia wants to know), is that Harty racked up 241 yards after catch – 6.7 yards after catch per reception. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Bills receiver do this (granted this is kind of a fugazi stat due to Allen’s impressive arm strength). I think the Buffalo Bills have found another option for short-yardage situations. He also has experience both out wide and in the slot… and usually finds ways to separate from coverage.
What’s also fun is Deonte Harty is a utility man of sorts. He returns and receives, sure. But he’s also lined up in the backfield on occasion. In 2021, he gained 41 yards from five rushing attempts. Not huge numbers but again, the versatility speaks volumes. Harty isn’t done yet and, at just 25 years old, there’s untapped potential here.
Frees up Hines
The most delicious part of this signing? There’s a good chance that he (at least partially) takes over return duties from Nyheim Hines, freeing up the RB for an expanded offensive role. Looking at the current running back market, it’s… expensive. I’m sure Beane can work some of his regular shenanigans and get something done. But this gives the Bills more time to work through it and see what comes of Hines first. I think a lot of us liked what little we saw of him last season, so it’ll be nice to see him in full action.
I gotta be totally honest, I’m loving this signing.
Featured Image: Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports