The Buffalo Bills are receiving high praise for their flurry of moves in free agency on the offensive and defensive line thus far, and on Tuesday, March 15, the franchise kept swinging by signing former Washington Commanders running back J.D. McKissic.
The Bills didn’t have to break the bank in order to add the 28-year-old pass rusher, who recorded 80 receptions during the 2020 NFL season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted, “Former Washington RB J.D. McKissic intends to sign a two-year, $7 million deal with upside to $8 with the Buffalo Bills, per source.”
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Even NBC Sports Washington reporter Pete Hailey couldn’t help but praise the transaction. 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.”
NFL Draft analyst Joe Marino tweeted, “Major factor as a receiving back. McKissic has 125 catches over the last two seasons. Nice addition.”
Before joining the Commanders in 2020, the Arkansas State alum signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2015 before joining the Seattle Seahawks in 2016. In 2019, McKissic was signed off of waivers by the Detriot Lions, where he finished the season with a total of 438 yards (receiving and catching combined) and a touchdown through 16 games appearances and three starts.
During the 2021 NFL season, McKissic appeared in 11 games with three starts in Washington, recording 609 yards from scrimmage, 212 yards rushing, 397 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. Despite missing the final six games of the season, McKissic suffered a concussion in Week 12 that required him to be carted off the field, he was the Commanders’ second-leading receiver in 2021, per NBC Sports.
McKissic Previously Said He Wanted to Stay in Washington
Back in January, McKissic received a glowing review from Washington’s running backs coach Randy Jordan. “To me, he’s probably one of the best pass-catching running backs, or I would just say football players, off of the catch and transitioning,” Jordan told The Washington Post‘s Nicki Jhabvala. “You throw a ball out to him, and it’s a simple little smoke route, and he’s able to catch it and turn and get you five or six [yards] before you even know it.”
In that same article, the dual-threat running back commented on his impending free agency. “Definitely, I want to stay. Everybody knows that,” Mckissic said, and “the feeling is believed to be mutual,” Jhabvala wrote.
However, following the transaction to the Bills on Tuesday, Jhabvala tweeted, “Was told Washington did not make an offer to try to keep McKissic.”
While Mckissic isn’t the flashiest move in free agency, ESPN’s Field Yates tweeted, “This is a really, really smart signing for the Bills. McKissic will play a ton for them in passing situations or when they want to go up-tempo. Awesome as a pass catcher and in pass protection.”
Where Will MckIssic Fit in With Zack Moss & Devin Singletary?
By adding Mckissic, it will be curious to see how offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey utilizes him in tandem with Devin Singeltary, the Bills’ clear leading rusher, and the team’s other starting running back, Zack Moss.
Based on their various different skill sets, McKissic’s presence shouldn’t eat away at their touches, and Singletary will likely hold onto his role as the team’s No. 1 running back.
While Mckissic has excellent receiver qualities, SB Nation’s Bruce Nolan tweeted, “If you’re looking for that crazy dynamism or explosiveness, McKissic isn’t it (average to below average in speed and explosion testing), but it’s a perfectly reasonable addition given the skill set need at the position.”
Nolan added, “McKissic has receiving chops no other RB on the roster has and has experience running in more of a zone system.”