The Buffalo Bills weren’t very active in the beginning part of free agency but did sign former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Deonte Harty to a two-year deal. Harty has primarily been a returner in his time in the NFL but did see significant snaps at wide receiver in 2021 when he had 36 receptions on 59 targets for 534 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
He missed most of this past season due to a toe injury that forced him to injured reserve.
He is certainly a versatile player that could address a number of needs for the Buffalo Bills from being a returner, which allows Nyheim Hines to have a bigger role on offense, to possibly be the starting slot receiver. However, Brandon Beane established what his expected role will be in this offense during his press conference on Thursday.
"I think Deonte you know he fits what we call our our four role which is a guy who can play outside and play inside we’ve seen him do both in New Orleans."
It is certainly surprising to hear the Buffalo Bills believe Deonte Harty can play on the outside with his size at only 5’6″ and 170 pounds. However, if he is able to get off the line and not jammed, defenses are going to have a tough time covering him with the speed he possesses.
The depth chart at wide receiver taking shape for the Buffalo Bills
When discussing the impact Harty can have on the Buffalo Bills offense he mentioned three wide receivers that his presence should help. It was notable because in addition to Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, he mentioned Khalil Shakir.
While this could have been said in passing it seems like Khalil Shakir could have a bigger role this season. He was a fifth round pick by the Buffalo Bills last year and had limited snaps over the course of the year. However, when he did play and get chances he made an impact.
It is also notable that Beane didn’t mention Isaiah McKenzie, which could be an indication that he is not expected to be part of their plans in 2023.