With the majority of their running back room either absent from OTAs or dealing with some sort of ailment, the Buffalo Bills brought a familiar face back into the fold Thursday morning as the team inked RB Boom Herron to a free agent contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
To make room for the veteran running back, the Bills released rookie CB Julian Whigham. Whigham was signed to the team earlier this offseason as an undrafted free agent out of Syracuse following the 2016 NFL Draft.
Overview: Boom Herron
Entering his fifth season in 2016, Dan “Boom” Herron joins the Bills after already spending part of last season with the team.
Following injuries to LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams early on in 2015, Buffalo brought Herron on board just before its Week 5 matchup against Tennessee and kept the former Ohio State Buckeye on its roster for six games before releasing him on Nov. 25.
Herron was subsequently claimed by another former squad, the Colts, following his release from the Bills, and spent the remainder of the regular season in Indianapolis.
The 5-foot-10-inch, 212-pound tailback finished the season with 25 carries for 79 yards (3.2 avg) and nine receptions for 47 yards (5.2 avg). He fumbled once.
In his six games with the Bills, Herron appeared in four (vs. Titans, Bengals, Jaguars, Jets) and tallied 37 rushing yards on 11 carries (3.4 avg), as well as 20 receiving yards on three catches (6.7 avg). The Warren, Ohio, native also spent time returning kicks while in Buffalo last season, averaging 23 yards per return on four attempts.
For his career, the former sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals has totaled 112 carries for 468 yards (3.2 avg) and one touchdown, as well as 31 receptions for 277 yards (8.9 avg).
Herron turned 27 in March.
How does Boom Herron fit?
While Boom Herron has more NFL game experience than four —Karlos Williams, Mike Gillislee, James Wilder Jr. and Jonathan Williams —of Buffalo’s other six (don’t forget about Dri Archer) running backs have combined, the chances of him making the roster are slim.
Herron’s performance was very average during his time as a running back and kick returner on Buffalo’s roster last season, and Bills fans shouldn’t expect much more from the former Buckeye the second time around.
Herron certainly fits the profile of what you look for in a running back at this level, but he has been unable to replicate what he did in college (592 carries, 2,869 yards, 32 touchdowns) through his first four seasons in the league and has bounced around to three teams thus far as a result.
With little interest on the free-agent market following his 2015 season with the Bills and Colts, Herron’s options were certainly limited this offseason.
Combining that with the fact that Buffalo was down to just one running back —rookie Jonathan Williams —in its final OTA practice of the spring earlier this week, the signing of Herron makes sense.
The fifth-year veteran is already familiar with offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s offense, and that knowledge will help the team (and Herron) get through next week’s mandatory minicamp without having to wear out other players in the backfield.
And, as Buffalo and all of Bills nation realized during last year’s training camp, you can never have enough running backs.
However, despite that fact, it’s highly unlikely that Herron sneaks his way onto Buffalo’s 53-man roster this season.
Despite their injuries or absences, LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, Mike Gillislee and Jonathan Williams are all firmly positioned ahead of Herron on the Bills’ depth chart at this point in time.
Unless the team experiences another rash of injuries at the position within the next two months, expect Herron to be on his way out the door sooner rather than later.
Until then, he’ll provide another body to an already deep positional group.
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