Nyheim Hines

AFC East Notes: Jets, Chubb, Hines

The Jets pulled off an upset win over the Bills today, despite the absence of wideout Corey Davis. The 2021 free agent signing ranks second on the team with 351 receiving yards, but has been unavailable since suffering a knee injury in Week 7.

That has allowed Denzel Mims to occupy a roster spot on gamedays, something which had yet to take place prior to the injury. The 2020 second-rounder saw a drastic drop in his playing time last year compared to his rookie campaign, which fueled a summer trade request. In the build-up to this year’s deadline, the possibility of a deal sending him out of New York remained, but nothing took place, perhaps as a reflection of his situation beginning to change.

Head coach Robert Saleh indicated that “something switched” recently with respect to Mims’ attitude and approach (Twitter link via SNY’s Connor Hughes). As a result, Saleh added that there is a strong possibility the Baylor alum will remain active for games even after Davis returns.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC East:

  • While the Jets were without Davis on offense, a notable member of their defense was back in action this afternoon. Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson returned after a three-game absence, something which was expected to take place today, per Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post. Part of New York’s vaunted 2022 rookie class, the first-rounder recorded a sack in the win over the Bills, bringing his total to 2.5 on the year. The Jets’ decision to trade away Jacob Martin will likely open the door to a larger role for Johnson moving forward.
  • More details have emerged regarding the Bradley Chubb extension he signed upon being acquired by the Dolphins. As detailed by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the new pact includes a fully guaranteed salary of $19.4MM next season. In March of 2023, his 2024 compensation will also become fully guaranteed. Overall, the Pro Bowler is in line for a steady base salary throughout the life of the deal; likewise, his cap hit is scheduled to remain very consistent, ranging from $22.2MM next year to $23.2MM in 2027, the final year of the deal.
  • The Bills were among the teams making notable additions on Tuesday, trading for running back Nyheim Hines. The veteran is known as an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield, but also for his special teams contributions. To no surprise, then, PFT’s Michael David Smith noted before today’s game that the ex-Colt was expected to serve as Buffalo’s punt returner. Indeed, Hines accounted for his new team’s only punt return, taking over that role from rookie Khalil Shakir.

AFC East Notes: Bills, Chubb, Moore, Bailey

The Bills were connected to a number of running backs leading up to the deadline, including major names like Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. Bills GM Brandon Beane, who worked for the Panthers for nearly 20 years, acknowledged that he discussed McCaffrey with his former team but never made a formal offer, per Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News. On the flip side, Beane said he never discussed Kamara with the Saints.

Ultimately, the Bills ended up landing on Nyheim Hines, who was acquired from the Colts for a conditional draft pick and running back Zack Moss. Beane told reporters that he spoke with the Colts on Monday night but talks really heated up right before the deadline.

“Another guy with speed, experience,” Beane said of Hines (via Skurski). “He can go out there and play slot. I mean, back at N.C. State, he was a punt returner, kick returner, receiver, running back. He can just – he can do a lot of things. So, when he’s in the huddle, the defense knows he’s in the game, but they don’t know exactly where he’s going to line up. I think you’ll see that as James (Cook) gets going, too – you know, you don’t want to overload a rookie, but he’ll be used more as a receiver, slot, things like that. So this just gives us a guy who’s proven, who can add in, and we’ll see. But if we needed him to go play slot receiver for a game, once he picks up the offense, he’s got that skill set.”

Buffalo also acquired safety Dean Marlowe from the Falcons for a seventh-round pick. While neither the Marlowe nor Hines acquisitions stole headlines, Beane is confident that these depth moves will ultimately pay off in the long run.

“Neither one of these moves at 1 o’clock were anywhere near happening,” Beane said. “So if they didn’t happen, for whatever reason, I could have sat up here, said we believe in who we got, and we do, but … I’m always going to look. If it makes sense for the Buffalo Bills, today and long term, we’re going to try and make it happen. Of the two guys we got, there’s another 100-plus that we looked into. … I think we looked at, dug deep on just 10 safeties alone, but we looked at other positions – is there a chance to acquire a depth (player)? Maybe not a starter, but a depth piece, just to shore us up, should injury happen. But these were the two that we felt made the most sense.”

More notes from around the AFC East:

  • The Dolphins quickly signed their major deadline acquisition to an extension, inking Bradley Chubb a five-year, $110MM deal ($63.2MM guaranteed) earlier today. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provides some more details (via Twitter) on that guaranteed money, noting that $33.4MM of the total is fully guaranteed at signing, while $53MM becomes fully guaranteed in 2023.
  • Elijah Moore was hoping for a trade out of New York prior to the deadline, and while Jets GM Joe Douglas acknowledged that he received “some calls” on the wideout, he made it sound like the front office never seriously entertained offers (per ESPN’s Rich Cimini on Twitter). “We love Elijah,” Douglas said (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “We all stood on the table to take him high in the second round last year, and we think the world of him. Obviously, we’re a football family and anytime there’s an issue, we like to handle that in-house. But I was able to have a really good one-on-one conversation with Elijah. We think the world of him; we think he has a bright future as a New York Jet.”
  • Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton has been rehabbing a season-ending knee injury, and Douglas said there’s some optimism that he’ll be ready to go for next year’s OTAs (per Brian Costello of the New York Post on Twitter). The lineman specifically suffered an avulsion fracture of the right kneecap, knocking him out for a pivotal campaign. The 2020 first-round pick missed the majority of his sophomore season with a knee injury.
  • Patriots punter Jake Bailey has struggled this season, leading ESPN’s Mike Reiss to wonder if the veteran could be playing for his job. After working out a number of punters, the team ended up adding Michael Palardy to the practice squad, a further indication that Bailey’s job is on thin ice. “Right now we’re working through some things,” said special teams coordinator Cameron Achord. “Jake’s going to be OK. Jake’s a pro … He still has all the talent.” Bailey is averaging a career-low 42.9 yards per punt, and his 62.2 percent touchback percentage is also a career-worst mark.

Eagles Pursued Kareem Hunt, Nyheim Hines

The league’s top rushing offense in yards and touchdowns from last season, and this season’s last remaining unbeaten team, was still looking to get better by the trade deadline. The Eagles were able to acquire some pass rushing help, adding defensive end Robert Quinn in a trade with the Bears, but despite attempts at multiple prospects, they were unable bring in a big name at running back, according to Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports.

Last year’s top rushing team was led by then-second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts and his 784 rushing yards. A number of running backs contributed behind Hurts, the main contributor being lead back Miles Sanders with his 754 rushing yards. Boston Scott was next on the depth chart, starting four of the five games Sanders missed and adding 373 yards on 87 carries. After spending much of the beginning of the year on the practice squad, Jordan Howard came up to the active roster and rushed for 406 yards on one less carry than Scott. Then-rookie Kenneth Gainwell rounded out the group with 291 yards rushing.

So why did last year’s top rushing offense need a new running back? It appears that Philadelphia was targeting running backs that could catch passes out of the backfield. The rookie Gainwell served as the Eagles’ pass-catching back in 2021, nearly matching his rushing total with 253 yards on 33 catches. Sanders, naturally, caught some passes as the starter, as well, grabbing 26 receptions for 158 yards. According to Vacchiano, the two most talked about targets for the Eagles at the trade deadline were Browns running back Kareem Hunt and former Colts running back Nyheim Hines.

Hunt displayed his proficiency as a pass catching back during his early years in Kansas City. Hunt’s two years with the Chiefs were his biggest receiving seasons with 455 yards on 53 receptions as a rookie and 378 yards on 26 catches in Year 2. Since leaving Kansas City, Hunt has taken the backseat to Nick Chubb in Cleveland. The Browns expected him to fill both the roles of Carlos Hyde, Chubb’s primary backup, and Duke Johnson, the team’s pass catching specialist out of the backfield. Although Chubb does a good amount of receiving himself in Cleveland, Hunt has, for all intents and purposes, filled those roles when available.

Hines has cut his teeth in the NFL as a pass catching running back. In five years since coming out of NC State, he has accumulated more receiving yards (1,725) than rushing yards (1,205). Hines has spent his entire NFL career with the Colts and was reportedly a favorite of Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, who served as Hines’s offensive coordinator from 2018-2020.

Regardless, the trade deadline has come and passed, and neither Hunt nor Hines reside in Philadelphia. Hunt stayed put, remaining in Cleveland to back up Chubb in an offense that will soon see the return of Deshaun Watson. Hines is no longer in Indianapolis, though, after being the main piece in a trade between the Colts and Bills. The Bills were similarly looking for diversity in their backfield which sported Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and rookie James Cook, none of whom are prolific in the passing game. Now, with Hines, the Bills have a prime pass catching threat out of the backfield to compliment Singletary and Cook (Moss was sent to Indianapolis in the trade).

The Eagles will roll forward with what’s worked for them this year and last. Hurts still remains a large part of the rushing attack, although he no longer leads the team. The starter, Sanders, has really taken charge of the group, leading the team with 563 rushing yards through seven games so far this season. Gainwell and Scott have split carries behind Sanders to fairly limited success. A new face to compliment Sanders in the running backs room would’ve filled a slight hole in the roster of what looks like the team to beat in the NFC right now, but the Eagles didn’t deem the solutions worth the cost it would take to acquire them. They’ll move forward with the team they have for the rest of the year.

Colts To Trade RB Nyheim Hines To Bills

The Bills will beat the buzzer by acquiring a running back. Nyheim Hines is Buffalo-bound, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The longtime Colts passing-down back/return man surfaced in trade rumors Monday night and will join a 6-1 Bills team.

Hines will head to Buffalo in a package that includes Zack Moss going to Indianapolis. The Bills are trading Moss and a conditional sixth-round pick to the Colts in exchange for Hines, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Moss is signed through 2023.

This move comes after Buffalo was involved in talks for both Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. While Hines is not on that level, he has been a longtime Colts complementary piece. After signing an Indianapolis extension last year, Hines is signed through 2024. Momentum began to build toward a Hines deal earlier Tuesday, and his three-year, $18MM pact will change hands.

A part of the Colts’ impact 2018 draft class, Hines has been the team’s passing-down back supplementing both Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor, catching at least 40 passes in each of his four full seasons. Hines topped 60 receptions in 2018 and 2020, displaying rare durability at his position. Hines has missed just one game as a pro.

Buffalo’s backfield equation changed in the spring, when a J.D. McKissic agreement did not lead to a finalized contract. McKissic reneged on the deal and went back to Washington. The Bills then drafted James Cook in Round 2 this year. Cook had overtaken Moss as the AFC East leaders’ No. 2 back. It will be interesting to see how the Bills use Cook now that Hines is in this Devin Singletary-fronted mix.

Hines, who turns 26 next week, has also worked as Indy’s punt returner since his second season. The North Carolina State product produced two punt-return touchdowns in that 2019 campaign. As they gun for their first championship since the AFL days, the Bills are undoubtedly planning to take advantage of Hines’ versatility. Hines has 19 career touchdowns, with a career-high seven coming in 2020.

The Bills inquired about McCaffrey this offseason and could have outflanked the 49ers by offering a first-round pick. But Buffalo viewed a first as too rich for the ex-Carolina star and did not make an offer. The team asked the Saints about Kamara recently, but New Orleans — which has not otherwise been linked to trading the five-time Pro Bowler — rebuffed that inquiry. Hines could be a nice consolation prize.

This does qualify as a seller trade for the Colts, but they have underperformed to start the season and are now breaking in another new quarterback (Sam Ehlinger). Moss will be part of the team’s Jonathan Taylor backup crew. The Bills took Moss in the 2020 second round and used him extensively during the first season and change of his career. The Utah product backed up Singletary primarily, totaling 1,118 scrimmage yards over his first two seasons. But Singletary received most of the backfield work down the stretch last season for the pass-first squad. Cook’s arrival further reduced Moss’ role this season. He will attempt to rebound as a Taylor backup.

Latest On Colts’ Nyheim Hines Trade Interest

The list of veteran running backs who could be on the move in advance of the trade deadline grew yesterday, when it came out that Nyheim Hines is drawing interest. Tuesday has seen conflicting reports with respect to the likelihood that he will be moved.

[RELATED: Colts Fire OC Marcus Brady]

Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star reports that the Colts are not shopping the 25-year-old. To little surprise, then, he adds that the team would need to receive a “significant” return to consider moving him. Hines signed a three-year, $18MM extension this offseason, allowing him to remain a pass-catching compliment to workhorse back Jonathan Taylor while also contributing on special teams.

On the other hand, ESPN’s Stephen Holder tweeted last night that signs are pointing to the Colts finding a suitable trade partner for the NC State alum. Zak Keefer of The Athletic adds that “at this point, it’s a when, not an if” regarding Hines being traded (Twitter link).

Indianapolis currently sits at 3-4-1 on the season, one which has seen the offense fail to live up to expectations. That has resulted in a change at quarterback (from Matt Ryan to Sam Ehlinger), but the run game has played a key role in the unit’s overall struggles; the Colts rank 29th in the league with an average of less than 88 yards per game on the ground. The performance of UDFA Deon Jackson – who filled in for Taylor and Hines earlier in the year when they were injured – could play a role in the Colts’ willingness to part ways with the latter.

PFF’s Doug Kyed reports that a pair of “top teams” have shown interest in acquiring Hines. One of those could be the Eagles, who Kyed adds have previously had the former fourth-rounder on their radar. Philadelphia has already been attached to two names at the position, making an offer for Christian McCaffrey and being named yesterday as a suitor for Kareem Hunt. The presence of head coach Nick Sirianni, who had previously served as the Colts’ offensive coordinator, could be a factor in this situation.

The Eagles, and all other contenders, have just over four hours to finalize deals which would see them add valuable insurance in the backfield and elsewhere for the second half of the campaign and the postseason.

Colts Receiving Calls On RB Nyheim Hines

The Colts made it pretty clear that they were focused on the future when they replaced Matt Ryan with second-year QB Sam Ehlinger. It didn’t take long for rival squads to start sniffing around at some of Indy’s available players. One player that’s drawn interest is Nyheim Hines, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reporting (on Twitter) that teams have inquired about the offensive weapon’s availability.

Hines has had a consistent role on the Colts offense since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2018. The running back topped 500 yards from scrimmage in each of his first four NFL seasons, including a 2020 campaign where he finished with 862 offensive yards and seven touchdowns. In seven games this season, Hines has collected 224 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown, and he’s returned 11 punts for 111 yards.

Jonathan Taylor‘s emergence over the past two years meant Hines was eyeing a future backup role with the organization. He still inked a three-year, $18MM extension with the Colts last September, and the team has managed to keep him active in the passing game and on special teams.

The Colts could be inclined to move on from the 25-year-old thanks to the recent emergence of Deon Jackson. The 2021 UDFA out of Duke proved to be more-than-capable when he had a significant role with Taylor and Hines sidelined. In Week 5 and Week 6, Jackson collected 104 rushing yards on 25 carries, and he added another 108 receiving yards on 14 receptions. On the flip side, if the Colts are worried that Taylor’s struggles this season aren’t an anomaly, they may want to keep as much RB depth as possible.

Inquiring teams could be eyeing Hines as a third-down RB and/or a ST option. Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus tweets that Hines has drawn trade interest in the past, although he cautions that there are “more running backs available than teams that need running backs.”

Injury Notes: Allen, Colts, Dalton, Zappe

The Chargers have been without Keenan Allen since he suffered a hamstring injury during the team’s season opener. While he has yet to officially be ruled out for Monday night’s game against the Broncos, it appears his return will come no earlier than Week 7.

The 30-year-old said as much when speaking to NFL Network’s Bridget Condon. Allen was expected to be on the field by this point in the season after suffering the injury, but a setback pushed his recovery timeline into October. “I wouldn’t say it was going well,” Allen said of his first rehab attempt. “I think I pushed a little too fast. I wasn’t ready obviously and reaggravated it.”

Here are some other injury updates ahead of tomorrow’s action:

  • The Colts have had an extended rest period prior to Week 6 by virtue of playing on Thursday night last week. However, they will still be without running back Jonathan Taylor, as the team confirmed on Saturday. His absence against the Broncos placed a higher burden on backup Nyheim Hines, but he, in turn, left that contest with a concussion. Per the team’s injury report, Hines will also miss tomorrow’s game against the Jaguars as he recovers, leaving Indianapolis particularly thin at the position.
  • For the third consecutive week, the Saints will turn to quarterback Andy Dalton as their starter. Head coach Dennis Allen confirmed that the veteran will fill in for Jameis Winston, who is continuing to deal with back and ankle injuries. With him still sidelined, Dalton will face the Bengals, with whom he spent the first nine years of his career. While he will be eyeing his second New Orleans win against his old squad, he will be without his top receiving target; Michael Thomas has also been ruled out and will miss his third straight contest.
  • Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com adds that Winston will be active and in uniform (Twitter link). The Saints will only turn to him in the event of an injury to Dalton, but proceeding in this fashion means that the team does not have to promote a practice squad passer, which would then require a corresponding release. Indeed, the Saints waived QB Jake Luton on Saturday to help make room for their WR and DB needs (h/t Mike Triplett of NewOrleans.football on Twitter).
  • Sticking with the QB position, the Patriots are in store for a repeat of last week’s decisive win over the Lions. Rookie Bailey Zappe is expected to start once again, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. He was thrust into the No. 1 role after Mac Jones‘ ankle sprain and Brian Hoyer‘s concussion. Jones has officially been listed as questionable, but it is unlikely that he will be able to suit up, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets. The news is an encouraging step for the 2021 first-rounder regarding his recovery, though. Zappe and the Patriots will, on the other hand, be without receiver Nelson Agholor, who was ruled out on Saturday.

Colts, RB Nyheim Hines Agree On Extension

The Colts continue to lock up cogs from their standout 2018 draft class. They added Nyheim Hines to the list Friday, signing the situational running back to an extension Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Hines agreed to a three-year, $18.6MM deal with $12MM guaranteed, per Yates. A big chunk of that total — $10.3MM — is guaranteed at signing, USA Today’s Josina Anderson tweets. In a backfield with Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack, Hines is now the Colts’ highest-paid ball-carrier — by a significant margin. A former fourth-round pick, Hines was going into a contract year. The Colts now have the Taylor-Hines tandem locked up for at least three more seasons.

This deal comes after the Colts locked down 2018 second-rounders Darius Leonard and Braden Smith earlier this summer. The big fish from that draft haul (Quenton Nelson) remains unsigned, but given the work Indianapolis has done to retain the supporting-casters from that group, a monster Nelson extension in 2022 appears likely.

Indianapolis slotted Hines as a passing-down back during his rookie year and added return duties to his plate in 2019. The team has kept Hines in these roles since, and the elusive North Carolina State alum has become one of the league’s best off-the-bench backs. He caught 63 passes as a rookie and added a second 63-catch season in 2020, amassing a career-high 862 yards from scrimmage last year.

At $6.2MM per year, Hines checks in among the top 12 highest-paid backs. A sizable gulf between the eight-man group earning north of $12MM annually and the field has emerged. Among backs on veteran contracts, only Melvin Gordon makes between $6.5MM and $12MM per year. But Hines did quite well for himself, with his new deal surpassing Chargers starter Austin Ekeler‘s AAV, and is set to aid Carson Wentz‘s transition this season.

RB Nyheim Hines Discusses Future With Colts

Nyheim Hines may be hitting free agency following the 2021 season, but the running back is making it clear that he wants to stay in Indy. Hines told Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star that he wants to play with the Colts for his entire career.

“I hope to play there my entire career, and I hope to establish a legacy where Indianapolis is always going to have that slasher, scat-back, that little fast guy who’s so versatile,” Hines said.

“Contract talks will come when they come. Whatever happens with that happens. My goal is to be the best leader for this team, to be the best player for this team that I can be. I feel like last year I established myself as a leader. Maybe not as much of a vocal leader, but I’m definitely a leader on that team.”

The 2018 fourth-round pick seemed to take a step back in 2019 following a solid rookie campaign. The running back bounced back in 2020, finishing with career-highs across the board, including 862 yards from scrimmage, seven touchdowns, and a team-leading 63 receptions.

The Colts are absolutely loaded at running back, with Hines joining 2020 second-rounder Jonathan Taylor, former 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack, and fourth-year pro Jordan Wilkins. While Hines will probably never lead the team in carries, he now understands his role, and that explains his career season in 2020.

“I think I’ve grown the most, just by my mindset,” Hines said. “Going out there, knowing that we have a lot of good players, not knowing when I’m going to touch the ball but just knowing I’m going to be ready. That’s really why I played a lot better last year, I think.”

Colts Notes: Tevi, Hines, Eason

One of the biggest winners of this year’s draft was Colts LT Sam Tevi. Signed to a modest one-year pact in March, Tevi has been atop Indy’s left tackle depth chart in the wake of Anthony Castonzo‘s retirement, but it was widely expected that the team would draft a potential Castonzo replacement.

Even though Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw was available for the Colts with the No. 21 overall pick, GM Chris Ballard elected to further bolster his defense by selecting Michigan DE Kwity Paye. And while this year’s draft was said to be deep in tackle talent, Ballard did not use a Day 2 or Day 3 choice on a tackle either.

It doesn’t sound like Colts brass was particularly high on the top-shelf LT prospects. “It just didn’t match up,” Ballard said (Twitter link via Stephen Holder of The Athletic). “How many true left tackles were in the draft? We’ll see. … If you’re gonna draft a guy that high, and you’re drafting him to be a left tackle, you’d like to know that he’s going to be that his whole career.”

Now for more out of Indianapolis, starting with additional notes on the team’s LT situation:

  • Even though the Colts valued Paye and second-round choice Dayo Odeyingbo over any LTs that were available at the time, owner Jim Irsay did concede that there were several tackles in the fourth and fifth rounds that they would have drafted but missed out on (Twitter links via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Irsay suggested that the team is comfortable with Tevi as the starting LT, though he left the door open for another acquisition. “We feel that Tevi can do a solid job there next to that line that he is joining,” he said. “There are other options that can come down the line” (Twitter link via Holder).
  • Irsay has previously indicated that the team would prefer to keep Quenton Nelson at left guard instead of moving him to LT, and perhaps one of the “options that can come down the line” that he referred to is former Chiefs LT Eric Fisher, who is still on the market.
  • We recently heard that the Colts are hoping to extend LB Darius Leonard and OT Braden Smith, and you can add RB Nyheim Hines to that mix. As Mike Chappell of Fox 59 writes, Irsay said he wants his team to explore a re-up with the NC State product, who is eligible for free agency next year. Hines is a terrific receiver out of the backfield and has developed into a quality punt returner, but the team does have second-year pro Jonathan Taylor as its RB1, and Marlon Mack is back in the fold as well. As Irsay observed, “it just depends on what the numbers are.”
  • The Colts just drafted Texas signal-caller Sam Ehlinger, adding him to a quarterback room that also includes 2020 UDFA Jalen Morton and 2020 fourth-round pick Jacob Eason. All three players will be vying to serve as Carson Wentz‘s top backup, though head coach Frank Reich said Eason will be penciled in as the QB2 for now (Twitter link via Erickson). Reich was clear that Morton and Ehlinger will get a fair shake, however.