BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills added the pass-catching running back that the team has been searching for by trading for Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines on Tuesday in exchange for running back Zack Moss and a conditional 2023 sixth-round pick that can become a fifth-round pick.
The Bills, who lead the AFC with a 6-1 record, have been looking to add a dynamic pass-catching back for some time, originally almost closing in on a deal earlier this year for Washington’s J.D. McKissic before he decided to re-sign with the Commanders. The team drafted running back James Cook in the second round, and he has been developing slowly. His best receiving performance came in this past week’s game against the Green Bay Packers with a 41-yard reception.
Since Hines, 25, entered the NFL in 2018, he ranks fifth among running backs in receiving yards (1,725). This season the fourth-round pick out of NC State has 25 receptions for 188 yards on a struggling Colts offense that saw quarterback Matt Ryan benched for Sam Ehlinger.
Hines, sources said before the deadline, welcomed a potential trade — especially to a team with a high-powered offense like the Bills.
He signed a three-year, $18.6 million contract before the 2021 season and figured to remain a centerpiece of the Colts’ offense. Instead, he went on to post career-lows in receptions (40) and targets (57) last season. Additionally, his carries dropped by 33 from 89 in 2020 to 56 last season.
So far in 2022, he’s playing just 30% of offensive snaps — a career low. And with the Colts’ massive struggles on the offensive line, running lanes have been non-existent. Hines is averaging 2 yards per carry on 18 carries.
With the Colts’ offense falling apart — the team last week benched starting quarterback Matt Ryan and on Tuesday fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady — the previously stated plans to involve Hines more extensively in their offense never truly panned out and took a back seat to other priorities.
In Buffalo, Hines will be joining a running back room that includes Cook and Devin Singletary, who leads the team in rushing yards (323) and attempts (71). Singletary also has the second-most receptions on the team (23) and has averaged eight yards per reception this season, but his role going forward should be more focused on the ground game with the addition of Hines.
Moss has become expendable for the Bills due to the other weapons on the offense and needed contributors on special teams. The 2020 third-round pick was a healthy scratch for the team’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs and did not play a snap against the Packers.
In other moves Tuesday, the Bills acquired safety Dean Marlowe from the Atlanta Falcons for a 2023 seventh-round pick and officially activated cornerback Tre’Davious White from the physically unable to perform list.