Buffalo Bills: Chris Ivory adds depth to running back position


The Buffalo Bills announced earlier Tuesday that veteran running back Chris Ivory will sign a two-year, $5.5-million contract with the team.

The Buffalo Bills aren’t wasting any time this offseason improving the offense.


Chris Ivory has never been considered a lead back. The soon-to-be 30-year-old rushed for a career-worst 382 yards on 112 carries in 2017.  However, he did start 14 games with the Jets in 2015 where he amassed over 1,000 yards (1,070) for the first time in his career and had seven scores.

Ivory ranked 78th on the NFL Top 100 list after that season. Here’s what his peers had to say about him.

After leaving New York for Jacksonville, Ivory was eventually relegated to a bench role behind TJ Yeldon and moved further down the depth chart in 2017 after the Jags selected Leonard Fournette fourth overall in last year’s draft.

Ivory, an eight-year veteran of the league, will presumably assume the number two role in Buffalo behind LeSean McCoy.

Buffalo ranked outside the top-five in rushing last season for the first time since Doug Marrone was on the Bills sidelines. Depth behind Shady was a huge factor in the struggles of the running game.

Depth. That’s all this signing is about.

Ivory won’t wow you with speed and burst. He’s power-back, and I mean powerful, and he will divinely complement McCoy’s agile style of play in a change of pace role.

Depth is something the Bills missed last season.

In the years past, Buffalo had a strong two-pronged attack in the backfield. McCoy shared touches with Mike Gillislee in 2016, while Karlos Williams had the backup role in 2015. As the number two, Gillislee ran for 577 yards and eight touchdowns, while Williams rushed for over 500 yards and reached the end zone seven times the year before.

Both of these backs were capable of breaking off for big plays on any given carry to give the Bills that added depth in the backfield.

Last season, however, the depth chart was bleak.

Multiple running backs rotated in and out of the Bills backfield when McCoy was injured or needed a breather. None of them eclipsed 250 yards rushing on the year.

Behind Tyrod Taylor, Mike Tolbert was the Bills next leading rusher with one touchdown and 247 yards on 66 carries. Next in line was Travaris Cadet who rushed 22 times for 93 yards without a score.

Ivory brings a bit more to the table. He’s rushed for over 500 yards four times in his career and has shown the ability to make big runs out of the backfield. The new Bills rusher has ripped off 31 runs for 20+ yards and nine for 40+ over his career.

He won’t be the 1,000-yard rusher Bills fans remember from his days with the Jets. But with McCoy running the rock 20 times per game, he won’t need to be.

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He’s a good depth add, and Ivory can help the Bills run their way back into the conversation among the NFL’s most elite rushing teams.