The Buffalo Bills have had a very successful few weeks restructuring their team in free agency, bolstering their defensive line by snagging eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller and adding depth to their offense by signing tight end O.J. Howard, and wide receiver Jamison Crowder.
However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Bills in free agency, as their targeted running back, J.D. McKissic, unexpectedly reneged on his deal with Buffalo in order to re-sign with the Washington Commanders, a team that didn’t offer the 28-year-old another contract until learning about his new deal.
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On March 15, McKissic agreed to sign a two-year, $7 million contract with Buffalo, a move that was praised by analysts across the league. NBC Sports Washington reporter Pete Hailey tweeted, “The Bills are going to be even scarier with McKissic on that offense. Devin Singletary led that group with 40 receptions in 2021. McKissic will take over the pass-catching RB role there and own it. He’s a stud.”
One day later, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the deal was off. He tweeted, “RB J.D. McKissic – who intended to sign a two-year, $7 million deal with the Buffalo Bills – changed his mind and is instead returning to Washington for the same compensation, per sources.”
The 28-year-old had a “change of heart,” Schefter added. “Once McKissic heard Washington was willing to match the offer, he didn’t want to leave.”
After McKissic’s exit, the Bills went on to sign former Miami Dolphins running back Duke Johnson, 28 to a one-year deal.
McKissic Said There’s ‘Unfinished Business’ in Washington
On Thursday, March 24, McKissic broke his silence on the last-minute flip, explaining to ESPN that he had “unfinished business” in Washington
As for how the final decision went down, with his agents negotiating the deal in Buffalo and then shutting things down to sign with the Commanders, “So crazy, I don’t remember,” McKissic said. “My agents called me to let me know what happened.”
While the Arkansas State alum has a lot of respect for the Bills organization and was grateful for the offer, he wasn’t ready to leave the team he’s been with since 2020.
“You can’t ask for a better organization to be chosen by,” McKissic said of Buffalo, “but I had unfinished business in Washington. The way we left off, we felt we were inclining… I had things I wanted to prove in Washington. I made my decision off where I wanted to be. Buffalo is a great organization, but I feel we can do great things here as well.”
Bills GM Made Said He Felt Disrecpted By Washington After McKissic’s Deal Fell Through
Bills general manager Brandon Beane made it clear during a press conference last week that McKissic’s sudden reversal didn’t stem from his agents trying to swindle a deal, and squarely placed the blame on the Commanders.
“That was tough. Obviously, he was a guy we targeted. You know, in this business in general, when you have an agreement, it’s good. But until there’s ink on the paper.. ya know his agent[s] did a great job. Doug Hendrickson and CJ LaBoy did a great job,” Beane said.
“There was some things that went down with other organization which was painful. But they chose to do what they did and I couldn’t stop it.”
When asked if this kind of about-face can hurt agent relationships moving forward, Beane nodded his head. But in this case, Beane said Hendrickson and LaBoy did nothing wrong.
“Yeah, I have had it before where the agent has agreed with you on something and then someone else calls and says ‘Hey, what if I add a million dollars or what if I do this or guarantee this… Once you have an agreement, the agent is supposed to say, ‘It’s over.’ And this agent did that. And this agent told the other club ‘It’s over.’ But the other club didn’t back off.”