Buffalo Bills rumors: Is Ray Rice worth the risk?


After the recent barrage of running back injuries, the Buffalo Bills are considering signing Ray Rice

The moment that a lot of Buffalo Bills fans have feared may finally be here. According to Fox Sports NFL insider Mike Garafolo, the Bills have begun internal discussions on whether to sign Ray Rice.

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In fairness, regardless of how much criticism this may receive, it is a discussion necessitated by desperate times. The recent barrage of injuries at the running back position, has left the Bills in dire straits.

It was bad enough when Karlos Williams went down on Monday, joining a casualty list that already includes Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. However, the sight of LeSean McCoy hobbling to the locker room on Tuesday, was the final straw.

Of course, there is the moral stance to consider with Rice. However – and this is not to make light of what he did – if more teams took this aspect seriously, there would be a lot of athletes currently playing, who would not be on NFL rosters.

The question is, moral issues aside, would signing the three-time pro bowler actually be a good roster move for the Bills? The general consensus appears to be no at this stage.

Sep 29, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Rice’s detractors (purely in a football sense), point to the last time he saw regular playing time in the NFL. During the 2013 season, he averaged a career-low 3.1 yards on 214 carries.

However, in the interests of objectivity, the 2011 rushing touchdown leader was compromised early on by injuries and a sputtering offense. Once he was back on track, he showed he was still capable of dominating, rushing for 131 yards in a week 11 game against the Chicago Bears.

Of course, you also have to consider the fact Rice missed an entire season of football. Does this mean he will be rusty, or just well-rested, something that can never be underestimated when considering the punishment running backs take on the field.

Overall, my feeling is similar to when the Bills were connected with Michael Vick. What have they got to lose, especially given their current situation at the running back position?

Worst case scenario, the New Rochelle, New York native is a disaster, and they let him go. Keep in mind that Jackson, Dixon and Brown are all expected back soon.

However, if Rice does well, then Rex Ryan finds himself with an interesting (and favorable) dilemma. Also, there should be few salary cap issues, with the Super Bowl XLVII champion desperate to just get the chance to prove himself again.

As the Bills have proved with the signings of Richie Incognito, Percy Harvin and IK Enemkpali, they’re prepared to give players a second chance. Now, we wait to see if that extends to taking a gamble on Rice.

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