Struggling Bills RB Could End up on the Trade Block: Insider

Zack Moss

Getty Roy Lopez #91 of the Houston Texans tackles Zack Moss #20 of the Buffalo Bills in the third quarter at Highmark Stadium on October 03, 2021.

The Buffalo Bills added a new dimension at running back this offseason by drafting the multi-talented James Cook, which one insider believes could be trouble for the team’s lone remaining power back.

Zack Moss flashed potential in his rookie season in 2020, rushing for 481 yards with four touchdowns and a 4.3-yard-per-carry average, but struggled to build on it an injury-plagued sophomore campaign. After a broken ankle that cut short his rookie season, Moss rushed for just 345 yards on a 3.6-yard-per-carry average in 2021.

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia believes that Moss will have another chance to prove himself in the coming season, but end up landing on the trade block if the team believes Cook could usurp his role.

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Opportunity and Risk for Moss

As Buscaglia noted, Moss split carries with Devin Singletary in his rookie season and had the opportunity to become the lead back if he could turn in a strong showing in 2021. Instead, Moss’s struggles allowed Singletary to take the mantle late in the season, taking virtually all of the carries from Moss.

Moss could face even more trouble if the team goes with a speed crew this season, he added.

“Moss’ issues last year came in his reads at the line of scrimmage and his failure to maximize opportunities,” Buscaglia reported. “He’s also more of a power back, and with the team going with more athletic offensive linemen this season, there may be a clash between principle and Moss’ skill set.”

While Moss will have another chance going into this training camp — and could improve his standing even more if he is able to play on special teams — the Bills could ultimately choose to trade Moss if his role has diminished too much, he reported.

“Contributing on special teams would also be a plus toward roster security,” Buscaglia wrote. “However, a trade shouldn’t be ruled out if he doesn’t perform well.”

Cook Could Take Big Role

Some of Moss’s fate could be out of his hands this offseason. Bills general manager Brandon Beane has spoken very highly of Cook, who is expected to add a new component to the backfield as he is a more capable pass-catcher than either Singletary or Moss.

Miles Ruder of Pro Football Focus wrote that Cook could help the Bills address one of the few weaknesses of the offense over the last few seasons — receivers who can attack defenses and rack up yards after the catch.

“Buffalo could use someone to take the pressure off Allen’s arm, as their pass-catchers combined to rank dead last in yards after the catch per reception (4.3) in 2021,” Ruder wrote. “The Bills’ franchise quarterback recorded the sixth-highest average depth of target (9.0) this past season while also attempting the second-most passes beyond 10 yards (223). It’s almost been a hindrance at times because of his reluctance to make underneath throws.”

While Buscaglia speculated that the Bills would consider trading Moss if they could get a good return, he ultimately believed Moss would make the final roster alongside his new teammate. Moss would have several advantages, including his cost-controlled rookie contract and his more physical rushing style, which Singletary and Cook lack.

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