Bills Shake Up Backfield, Acquire RB Nyheim Hines From Colts
The Buffalo Bills made two moves right before Tuesday’s NFL Trade Deadline. They acquired RB Nyheim Hines from the Indianapolis Colts and S Dean Marlowe from the Atlanta Falcons.
The Bills sent RB Zack Moss and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Colts in exchange for Hines, who requested a trade out of Indianapolis, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The former 2018 fourth round pick was buried on the Colts’ depth chart this season after signing a three-year, $18.6 million extension last September.
Hines brings speed, athleticism, and versatility to the Bills backfield. A North Carolina State product who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, the soon-to-be 26-year old was underutilized in Indianapolis. Playing behind Jonathan Taylor, Deon Jackson, and Phillip Lindsay, Hines has just 18 carries for 36 yards and 25 receptions for 188 yards in 2022.
By adding another weapon to their offense, the Bills showed that they are looking to get more production out of their running backs, specifically at RB2. While Nyheim Hines may not have eye-popping stats, he brings a lot of upside to this already high-powered offense as well as special teams versatility.
To me, the most interesting part of this deal is the term that comes with Hines’ contract. Though he has a potential out after this season, Hines is under contract until 2025. Assuming he plays out his contract in Buffalo, he will have cap hits of just over $2 million this year, $4.8 million next year, and $5.5 million in 2024.
Bills GM Brandon Beane always says he prefers to win now and in the future. The Bills typically aren’t in the rental market, so this move could mean more for the future of the backfield.
One of the first things I thought when I saw this deal was that Devin Singletary will not be re-signed this offseason; that Hines and James Cook will share backfield duties in 2023. As of now, Singletary’s market value is $5.3 million, according to Spotrac. If he has a strong end to the season, he could run himself out of town (pun intended). In that case, the Bills could use the money saved to re-sign S Jordan Poyer and/or LB Tremaine Edmunds.
I floated the idea of trading for a RB with term last week when I discussed acquiring Antonio Gibson. But, considering what the Bills gave up for Hines (compared to what they would’ve had to give up for Gibson or even Kareem Hunt) and Hines’ positional versatility, this appears to be the smart, cost effective move that suits the Bills.
Before we look too far ahead into the future, let’s look at what this trade means for the current team.
Singletary has established himself as this team’s RB1. And, as of now, it appears that Nyheim Hines is the better, more established complimentary back. That leaves James Cook as the odd man out for the stretch run of the 2022 season.
Bills head coach Sean McDermott was asked about Cook at his Monday press conference. He said that the former Bulldog had a slower transition into the NFL, citing practice habits among other things. However, he did say that Cook has grown and matured significantly and continues to improve each and every day.
To me, it seems that the Bills like what they’re seeing from their second-round pick. But, perhaps they think he needs more time to develop before he can handle a heavier workload. Adding Hines buys Cook time to continue developing. It also helps the offense for the rest of this season and possibly next season.
Update: Beane said at his Wednesday morning press conference that Hines won’t affect Cook; that they can potentially line up on the field together at the same time, using different packages.
Cook had a solid showing on Sunday Night Football, rushing five times for 35 yards (7.0 yards/carry) and adding one catch for 41 yards. Meanwhile, Singletary led the rushing attack with 67 yards on 14 carries (4.9 yds/carry) and Josh Allen had six rushes for 49 yards (8.2 yds/carry).
Allen was asked after the game if he was concerned with not being able to close out games with the run game… He was not.
“I don’t really have a concern with that. I have a concern with making stupid decisions and not closing out the game that way either.”Josh Allen on his 2nd second half INTs (via Buffalo Bills YouTube)
The Buffalo Bills won their fourth consecutive game Sunday night at Highmark Stadium, defeating the Green Bay Packers, 27-17. Buffalo now heads to New York (New Jersey) this Sunday with a 6-1 overall record, their best start since 1993.
Bills Trade Deadline Coverage
On our Twitter Space yesterday, Rev and I discussed how the Buffalo Bills will split up their rushing snaps now with Nyheim Hines in the fold.
We came up with a stereotypical game plan for the Bills where they throw the ball 40 times and run it 30. Out of those 30 rushing attempts, we predicted that Singletary will get 15 handoffs, Hines will get seven or eight, Allen will have six or seven, and Cook might get a couple at most while being sprinkled in throughout the game, particularly in the passing game.
For that and more, check out our Trade Deadline Twitter Space. We covered the trades from multiple angles, as well as the 18 other players who were dealt across the NFL leading up to the deadline.
Featured Image: Rich Barnes/USA Today Sports