After joining the Buffalo Bills at the trade deadline and making history in the season finale, Nyheim Hines is taking a pay cut to stay in Buffalo.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on March 13 that the team was reworking the running back’s contract to convert some of his base salary to a signing bonus. While that will mean a pay cut on the front end for Hines, he has the ability to earn more than the $4.79 million he had been scheduled to make in the upcoming season, Garafolo reported.
The move came amid rumors that Hines could be on the chopping block, and gives the Bills’ running back room a sense of stability amid likely changes.
Nyheim Hines Back in Buffalo
Hines came to the Bills as part of a trade-deadline deal that shipped running back Zack Moss to the Indianapolis Colts. Though he played a minor role behind starter Devin Singletary and rookie James Cook — racking up just 13 touches on offense in 11 games — Hines made a major mark as a return specialist. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in the season-finale win over the New England Patriots, an emotional performance that came in Buffalo’s first game since safety Damar Hamlin’s on-field collapse against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Some insiders saw Hines as a potential cap casualty as the Bills needed to dig out from a roughly $20 million cap deficit. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia noted that Hines did not have a big enough role on offense to justify his salary.
“Hines arrived in Buffalo as they hoped he would be a missing piece on the offense, but he never became a regular feature for offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey,” Buscaglia wrote. “Hines did make himself a valuable player as a kickoff returner, but that usually doesn’t equate to a nearly $5 million cap hit.
“The Bills could save more money by cutting Hines than on any other non-core player, and it isn’t close. The cap hit likely needs to be addressed as is. So don’t be surprised if the Bills attempt to get Hines to agree to a pay cut to keep him and save cap dollars.”
The reworked contract addresses that issue, giving the Bills more room. They had already created some cap space by restructuring the contract of defensive lineman Tim Settle, with many expecting Josh Allen to be next.
Uncertainty Ahead for Bills’ Running Back Room
The Bills are going into an offseason of uncertainty at running back, with Moss gone and Singletary headed for free agency. Singletary is coming off a productive season, rushing for 816 yards with five touchdowns to go along with 38 receptions and 280 receiving yards with one touchdown.
After Buffalo’s season ended with a disappointing loss to the Bengals in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, Singletary said he wasn’t sure what his future would hold.
“Definitely,” Singletary said when asked about his contract situation in a postgame interview. “I don’t know if that was my last game here or not, but we’ll see how it plays out… I’d love to be back here… I love Buffalo, but it’s a business.”