Heading into the offseason, one of the many areas the Buffalo Bills wanted to address was their running game.
In their end of the of the season press conferences both head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane touched on wanting to be able to run the ball when they needed too.
“In certain games, certain situations; whether it’s weather, the opponent, they’re really good at pass rushing, they have an outstanding defensive backfield, whenever it’s going to be harder to throw, those games we want to be able to run it,” Beane said during an appearance on WGR 550.
Second-year running back Devin Singletary and rookie Zack Moss carried the load this season in the backfield alongside quarterback Josh Allen, but they could also use a little help.
In a recent Pro Football Focus article, PFF ranked the Top 150 free agents in the NFL this offseason and predicted where they would land.
Along with predicting that that Bills would resign tackle Daryl Williams and linebacker Matt Milano, PFF also predicted that the Bills would sign Seahawks running back Chris Carson.
RB CHRIS CARSON
You will find few harder-running backs than Chris Carson, and that play style has led to him having some of the most consistent PFF rushing grades of any back in the league during his career. He hasn’t had a rushing grade below 75.0 or above 81.0 in four years and has always maximized his yardage. In each season of his career, he has gained at least three yards per carry after contact, topping out with 3.63 yards on average in 2019 — a season in which he broke 62 tackles including the playoffs.
Carson may not possess the receiving skill set of other backs, but he has been bucking that trend in 2020, already bettering two of his previous three seasons in terms of receiving first downs and soon to set a new career-high in that area. While Carson wasn’t a high draft pick, he has been one of the better players at his position since entering the NFL.
Contract Analysis: Chris Carson has had as strong of a start to his career as possible after being selected 249th overall in 2017 (26th running back taken). Nevertheless, Seattle drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round in 2018 and added DeeJay Dallas in the fourth round in 2020, which could signal they’re looking to replace Carson — not retain him.
Prediction: Bills sign Carson for three years, $27 million ($9M APY): $15 million total guaranteed, $10 million fully guaranteed at signing.
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Carson has Put Together a Solid Career in Seattle
Since being drafted by the Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the former Oklahoma State product has been a mainstay in Seattle’s backfield.
In four years, he’s rushed for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns on 715 carries, tallying 4.6 yards per carry. While playing in 14 and 15 games, respectively, during his second and third years in the league, Carson ran for over 1,000 yards during both seasons and found the end zone a combined 16 times.
He’s been a bruiser back for the Seahawks over the past four years and after they drafted both Rashaad Penny and DeeJay Dallas in the past two seasons, they are starting to run out of room in the backfield.
So, Carson could more than likely move on from the Seahawks this offseason.
Moss and Singletary Shined on Occasion this Year
When Beane and McDermott both mentioned that they wanted to improve their running game, they said they wanted to be able to run the ball in certain situations.
In their first matchup of the season against the New England Patriots, Singletary and Moss each rushed for over 80 yards and the team rushed for a season-high 190 yards. But on too many occasions this year, the Bills couldn’t get the running game going and it hurt them in the long run.
ESPN Analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has already connected the Bills to Alabama running back Najee Harris in one of his mock draft’s.
So the Bills could be addressing the running back position through the draft or in free agency.
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