Buffalo Bills sign former All Pro Deonte Harty – Good Move or Bad Move?

Deonte Harty (Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Deonte Harty (Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) /

Bills Mafia has been clamoring for more weapons, particularly wide receivers for Josh Allen and this offense.  Well, you got one, enter Deonte Harty, formerly known as Deonte Harris of the New Orleans Saints.

The deal was reported as a two-year, $9.5 million deal, which sounds like a lot but ultimately is only about $1.5 million more than Isaiah McKenzie and this deal likely means the end for McKenzie has a Buffalo Bill.  Also, the Bills can release Harty after this season and take a hit of roughly $1 million, so the deal isn’t that bad.

Buffalo Bills make a good move with the addition of Deonte Harty

My initial thought was “what, why, who is this guy!?”  But after looking it over and considering what this might mean, I’m good with it and like the signing.  I know, he’s only 5’6″ but it’s what this means for McKenzie and Nyheim Hines more than anything, that gets me a little excited.

Don’t get me wrong, I love McKenzie, great dude, but he came nowhere near meeting expectations and was more of a liability.  Signing Harty likely means McKenzie gets cut, which saves a little on the 2023 cap hit, and Harty, we believe, will be better than McKenzie.

Secondly, this will bring an end to Hines as a return specialist, even though he excited us all with those two returns against the New England Patriots but let’s be honest, the Bills aren’t paying him to be a return guy.

I’ve commented in the past on Twitter about Hines’s usage and compared him to McKinnon with the Chiefs.  In 2021, the Chiefs brought over McKinnon mid-season, and he had less than 20 touches on offense but last season he set a record for receiving touchdowns for a running back.  With a full offseason with the Bills under his belt, I think Hines can be that guy for Josh Allen.

Lastly, Harty was voted as an All-Pro in 2019 for his return skills.  He averaged 26.8 yards per kick return and 9.4 as the punt returner that season.  His career numbers as a return guy are 9.8 per punt return and 25.4 per kick return.  Pretty solid numbers, and anytime you can add a former All-Pro who is only 25 years old, is a win in my book.

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