The Buffalo Bills waited until the last minute to make a trade-deadline deal, sending running back Zack Moss and a conditional sixth-round draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for one of the league’s most consistent pass-catching running backs.
The Bills landed running back Nyheim Hines, who has been stuck behind Jonathan Taylor and second-year back Deon Jackson on the Colts depth chart. Though Hines had just 36 rushing yards and one touchdown this season, he has proven to be one of the league’s most consistent pass-catching backs since being drafted in 2018.
“Nyheim Hines has the 5th most receiving yards for RBs (1,725) since he entered the league in 2018,” tweeted WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio. “He is under contract for two more seasons at base salaries of $4.45M in 2023 and $5.14M in 2024.”
Hines has registered more receiving yards than rushing yards in each of his five seasons, including in 2022. He has 25 receptions and 188 receiving yards so far this season.
The trade was announced just minutes before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline, making it one of the final moves of the NFL season.
Bills Land Versatile Back
The trade adds more versatility to the Bills offense, giving quarterback Josh Allen another pass-catching weapon. General manager Brandon Beane made it a priority last offseason to find players who could rack up more yards after the catch, which had been a weak point for the Bills last season.
“If you’re gonna pick on our offense a little bit, that’s probably one of the things you could pick on is some chunk RAC plays, get it in somebody’s hand, a receiver, running back, tight end, whatever it is,” Beane said in May, via the Buffalo News. “And that was an area, especially from the running back position that we thought we could improve.”
But several of his attempts to add a pass-catching running back either fell apart or failed to hit the mark. The Bills initially had a deal to sign versatile running back J.D. McKissick, but he changed his mind and decided to return to the Washington Commanders. The Bills then drafted rookie James Cook, who was expected to be a potent pass-catcher out of the backfield, but he has yet to make a significant impact.
Before landing Hines, the Bills had reportedly been in discussion for other running backs including All-Pro Christian McCaffrey, though they balked at the price the San Francisco 49ers ultimately paid.
Fresh Start for Moss
The trade also gives a change of setting for Moss, who struggled to replicate a strong rookie season in which he rushed for 481 yards and four touchdowns. Moss suffered a broken ankle in the playoffs that year and was hampered through the early part of his second season, falling to 345 rushing yards.
Moss had 91 rushing yards this season, with 43 yards coming on a single play against the Miami Dolphins. Many insiders saw Moss as a potential trade candidate for the Bills heading into the deadline.
“The Bills really aren’t in asset-trading mode considering they’re atop the AFC. But if they had to move someone, 2020 third-round pick Zack Moss could be that player,” The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia wrote on October 21.
In what may have been a sign of his potential trade, Moss did not record a single carry in the team’s 27-17 win over the Green Bay Packers on October 30.