BUFFALO, N.Y. — Damien Harris came to the Buffalo Bills with no expectations. After spending his first four seasons with the New England Patriots, the running back was looking for a fresh start and signed a one-year deal in free agency.

Harris said he’s now “thriving” and looking to carry that over to training camp and the regular season.

“I didn’t necessarily end my time in New England the way that I wanted to, just being upfront and honest and, you know, I got no shame behind that,” Harris said. “It wasn’t, my last year wasn’t my best year, so, I’m looking to bounce back, to rebuild myself, rebrand myself.”

Harris, 26, said it’s been his best offseason since being drafted in third round of the 2019 draft by the Patriots. He will play a role in a revamped running back room with pressure on second-year back James Cook to take a step forward as a potential lead back.

Harris, who averaged 4.4 yards per carry last season, is just one of several offensive playmakers the Bills added this offseason — a group that also includes wide receivers Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty and first-round tight end Dalton Kincaid.

While the Bills had the second-best scoring offense (28.4 points per game) in the league last year in coordinator Ken Dorsey’s first season, its success decreased in the second half of the year — dropping from 54.37 (second) in offensive EPA from Weeks 1-8 to 38.31 (eighth) from Weeks 9-18 — due to a myriad of factors, including quarterback Josh Allen’s elbow injury. The new players were brought in to address some of the offense’s shortcomings. Let’s take a look at each group.

Returns: Cook, Nyheim Hines, Reggie Gilliam (fullback)

Additions: Harris, Latavius Murray, Jordan Mims (R)

In addition to Harris, the Bills brought in Murray this offseason and signed Mims, an undrafted free agent, to compete for a roster spot. Hines is back after being under-utilized (11 touches in nine regular-season games) following a trade at the deadline last year that sent 2020 third-round pick Zack Moss to the Indianapolis Colts. Hines’ ability to play special teams will be a factor in his chances to make the roster.

Devin Singletary, who lead the Bills in rushing each of his four seasons with the team, found a new home with the Houston Texans in free agency, opening the door for Cook to take over the lead back role. The 2022 second-rounder had 110 touches in his rookie year, but the Bills traditionally pass-heavy offense will rely on a mixture of backs, aiming to give opposing defenses more to think about.

Murray and Harris could compete in training camp for opportunities in short-yardage situations. In 2022, the Bills were eighth in yards per rush on third-and-short situations (4.7). Adding a back with size in Murray (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) and with proven experience in Harris — who has to show he can stay healthy after missing six games in 2022 with a thigh injury — should help with that.

“I think [Harris and Murray] provide a physical nature to them with still the ability to create big plays with their speed and I’m excited to see them,” Dorsey said.

Some of Harris’ best performances have come facing the Bills, rushing for over 100 yards in three of his five career games against them. But in 2022, the starting running back job in New England went to Rhamondre Stevenson, and Harris played just 22% of the offensive snaps compared to 66% for Stevenson.

Signing a short-term deal to play in a different offense is an opportunity for Harris.

“I played really at a really high level in this league and I just wanna continue to do that,” Harris said.

Harris’ best season was in 2021, when he rushed for 929 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Returns: Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, KeeSean Johnson, Isaiah Coulter

Additions: Sherfield, Harty, Jalen Wayne (R), Justin Shorter (R), Dezmon Patmon, Marcell Ateman, Tyrell Shavers (R), Bryan Thompson (R)

There are 13 wide receivers on the Bills’ roster right now, so a large number of cuts will come here. Seven made the roster last season. How the position shakes out will be something to watch during training camp.

Sherfield, who is on his fourth team in four years, took advantage of increased opportunities when Diggs was not present for voluntary OTAs and not participating in team drills during mandatory minicamp.

“Trent Sherfield, getting a lot of the Z reps and learning this offense. I’ve loved what I’ve seen from Trent so far, the dude works extremely hard,” Allen said during OTAs in May. “He’s one of the hardest-working guys on the team. Doesn’t complain about anything. He’s rolling right now.”

Yards after the catch was an area Allen and the Bills have emphasized for improvement in 2022 — then the team finished 29th in YAC per reception (4.5) last season. Sherfield and Harty should help there; Harty has a career yards after the catch percentage of 53.2% and has shown off his speed as a returner in his past.

That speed could help open up things for the rest of the offense. Diggs’ production decreased in the second half of the 2022 season — in the first nine games he had 72 receptions on 98 targets for 985 yards and seven touchdowns. In the nine games that followed, including playoffs, Diggs caught 47 receptions on 74 targets and four touchdowns.

“[Harty’s] a vertical threat, and if you’ve got a legit vertical threat that can help open things up, for Gabe, Stef or Khalil, any of the other guys that are playing receiver,” general manager Brandon Beane said in March. So, I think he’ll just be another piece that Dorsey can use however he wants, like I said, as an outside or an inside.”

Returns: Dawson Knox, Quintin Morris

Additions: Dalton Kincaid (R), Nick Guggemos, Joel Wilson (R)

Knox, Kincaid and Morris will land roster spots unless something unexpected happens. Kincaid, whom the Bills traded up in the first round to select, is the flashy new target to keep an eye on how he might open up the offense.

Dorsey said during OTAs they are still learning about Kincaid and how he will be used. But one expectation is Kincaid will be used as a slot tight of sorts to improve production in the middle of the field. The Bills led the league in drop percentage from the slot in 2022 (7.1%) and finished 15th in yards per reception in the slot (11.8). One of the selling points on Kincaid was his “elite hands,” per Beane.

“[Kincaid] already has great vision of what the defense is doing. Great hands, great route running capability really, really well polished for coming out of college,” Knox said. “… It’s gonna be awesome bringing him in the box, running the ball some, then if we’re both out there at the same time, creating some mismatches and get one of those on a linebacker. So I think the more 12 personnel, the more multi-tight end sets you can run, the more versatility you’re gonna have on the offense.”

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How Bills’ new playmakers could shake up depth chart, open up the offense – ESPN – Buffalo Bills Blog