Bills Release RB Nyheim Hines

Nyheim Hines was forced to miss the 2023 campaign, and his preparation for the coming season will now come with uncertainty. Buffalo plans to release the veteran running back this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. A team announcement has since confirmed the move, which comes with a non-football injury designation.

Schefter adds that Hines – who suffered a torn ACL during a jet ski incident in July – is expected to be healthy in time for training camp this summer. That positive health note could help his market to a degree, but the missed campaign will still no doubt hinder his ability to land a lucrative agreement with a new team.

This move will create $4.66MM in cap savings while incurring only $500K in dead money. It will therefore help the cap-strapped Bills in their effort to achieve compliance. Buffalo entered today in the worst financial shape in the league, on track to check in roughly $41MM over the cap ceiling. One year remained on Hines’ contract, but he will now hit the open market early.

The 27-year-old was traded from the Colts to the Bills at the deadline in 2022, and he was used sparingly on offense while serving as the team’s primary kick returner. Hines scored a pair of touchdowns in the latter respect, providing relatively high expectations for the 2023 season. His roster spot appeared to be in doubt to an extent even before suffering the injury, however.

As a result, it comes as no surprise Buffalo will move on. The team has James Cook safely atop the depth chart after he delivered a Pro Bowl season in his first opportunity as a starter. Latavius Murray, Ty Johnson and Damien Harris filled out the RB room during the season, each seeing limited opportunities. A number of players handled return duties, meanwhile, with Johnson running back the most kicks and Deonte Harty serving as the primary punt returner. A similar setup will likely be employed moving forward.

As his recovery continues, Hines will now turn his attention to free agency. A plethora of high-profile backs are set to reach the market, and it would come as a surprise if the position’s market saw a rebound from the past few years. Given his return experience and ability as a pass-catcher, though, Hines will likely have the opportunity to latch onto a roster in the hopes of carving out a role for himself. Further cost-shedding moves on Buffalo’s part will be needed as the new league year (March 13) draws nearer.

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