While the Buffalo Bills had shown interest in acquiring Christian McCaffrey from the Carolina Panthers, the San Francisco 49ers swooped in late Thursday night to sign the All-Pro running back. The Niners gave up their second, third, and fourth-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft along with a fifth-rounder in 2024, so it’s a relief the Bills didn’t try to top that offer.
However, another running back recently became available that could bolster Buffalo’s run game, Los Angeles Rams’ Cam Akers, who was the team’s starter during their Super Bowl 56 victory. Things have since soured between Akers and the Rams, and head coach Sean McVay confirmed that the two parties were looking to part ways on Monday, October 17.
“There is a possibility that we could try to help him look for a fresh start with another team,” McVay said. “That’s something we’ve explored… There’s probably a move that will be made in regard to him being with another team.”
Afterward, The Draft Network‘s Justin Melo named the Bills as one of the top “potential destinations” for the Rams’ second-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft. While Devin Singletary has positioned himself as the Bills’ No. 1 running back, he “hasn’t placed a stranglehold on the lead job,” per Melo. “Singletary has gained 256 yards on 57 attempts (4.5 yards per carry) and has yet to score a rushing touchdown. Presumed backup Zack Moss has been a non-factor.”
“Furthermore, Akers possesses a fairly notable connection to a member of Buffalo’s staff,” Melo noted. “Current Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer served as Los Angeles’ run game coordinator for three seasons (2018-20), including Akers’ breakout rookie campaign. Kromer knows Akers as well as any coach in the league. He may consider advocating for the Bills to acquire Akers.”
ClutchPoints reporter Owen Crisafulli believes it would be best for the Florida State alum to land in Buffalo. “Akers has shown the potential to become a lead running back early in his career, and the Bills high-powered offense could be the perfect spot for him to take his game to a new level,” Crisafulli wrote.
“Akers hasn’t been any more efficient than anyone on the Bills roster so far this season, but he has upside, and it wouldn’t be a horrible idea for them to take a flier on Akers here.”
The Bills Could Easily Afford to Sign Akers
Last week, Buffalo announced they were releasing linebacker Andre Smith, who was just about to return from serving a six-game suspension due to performance-enhancing drugs. As Spotrac.com previously reported, “If Buffalo decides to part ways with Smith amid the suspension, they “can free up $1.1M of cap space.”
Akers is due $1.17 million for the 2022 NFL season, and $1.45 million in 2023, per Spotrac.com. While a torn Achilles tendon suffered before the start of the 2021 NFL season kept him out most of the year, the 23-year-old was able to return in Week 18 and quickly became a key part of the team’s offense. During the Rams’ playoff journey, Akers rushed 67 times for 172 yards along with eight receptions for additional 76 yards, per Pro Football Reference.
Thus far this season, in five games, Akers has rushed 51 times for 151 yards and one touchdown, averaging 3.0 yards per carry. In comparison, Moss has rushed 17 times for 91 yards and zero touchdowns in five games this season, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
According to BetOnline.ag, the Bills have the second-best odds (+400) to land Akers, just behind the Denver Broncos (+300).
Sporting News reporter Jacob Camenker also suggested Buffalo make a trade for the disgruntled Rams back. “Akers would provide the Bills with a nice combination of upside and experience,” Camenker noted. “If he regains his pre-Achilles tear form, he could unseat Singletary as the starter and add another playmaking option to Buffalo’s stellar offense. If not, he should still be an upgrade over the Cook/Moss duo, at least in the short term.”
The Bills Made RB Zack Moss a Healthy Scratch Against the Chiefs
The Bills’ issue at running back was highlighted just before their marquee Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, as head coach Sean McDermott made Moss a healthy scratch.
While McDermott later revealed that part of the reason they sat Moss was to have “insurance at tight end with the injuries Dawson Knox has been dealing with,” as reported by ESPN‘s Alaina Getzenberg, the third-year back has struggled this season. During Buffalo’s 38-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, Moss recorded one carry for seven yards.
It was encouraging to see Singletary put up season-high numbers during Buffalo’s 24-20 victory over the Chiefs, carrying the ball 17 times for 85 yards along with four receptions for 22 yards, but Cook only carried the ball twice for eight yards. However, Cook is the only running back to score a rushing touchdown thus far this season.
Quarterback Josh Allen leads the team with two rushing touchdowns and 257 rushing yards. While Buffalo has the No. 1 offense, they rank No. 17 in rushing.