Bills free-agent targets: Running backs

Could Aaron Jones, Chris Carson or Le'Veon Bell interest them?
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We know this much of the Buffalo Bills heading into 2021: They feel they must be able to run the ball better, more frequently and more efficiently than they did in 2020 to have the best chance of taking that next step, which is a return to the Super Bowl.

We also know that the Bills appear to have soured on Devin Singletary being a part of their future, turning back to him in the playoffs only because rookie Zack Moss landed on the injured reserve list.

So what's the next step for the Bills?

They likely will look to draft yet another back after selecting Moss in the third round last year and Singletary in the third round the year before.

But if they can clear enough salary cap space, they also could go after some veterans.

Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers is perhaps the most intriguing, though he likely will come at a cost they might not be prepared to pay.

Jones is superb in every which way and last year averaged 5.5 yards per carry and caught 47 passes.

Because he just turned 26, he's also in his athletic prime and could command at least $10 million per year.

Also expected to come at a high price is Seattle's Chris Carson, who was always a tough runner but in 2020 was more involved as a receiver than ever and fumbled just once after fumbling seven times the year before.

His 2020 receptions total of 37 was achieved in just 12 games and matched his career-high set the year before in 15.

Still, the Seahawks are setting up to be able to move on from Carson after drafting Rashaad Penny and DeeJay Dallas.

If the Bills can't afford the upper-echelon backs in this year's free-agent marketplace, they might want to look at lower-cost options such as Mike Davis, James Conner or Le'Veon Bell.

Bell is the most accomplished and recognizable name of the bunch because he was at one time an elite back himself. But he's slowed over the years, even though he's still under 30 years old.

Bell last season averaged 4.0 yards per carry in nine games with the New York Jets and two with the Kansas City Chiefs. He hasn't had a run longer than 19 yards since sitting out the entire 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

But Bell is not only an accomplished runner who in 2017 led the NFL in attempts with 321, but an ace receiver who caught a career-high 85 passes that season as well to finish with a league-high 406 touches.

Conner is built like a linebacker at 6-1, 233, and last season averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

Davis lacks the pure speed to create big gains but he's coming off career highs in touchdown runs (six) and pass receptions (59, which is better than any two of his previous seasons combined).

The Bills will be making at least one significant roster move at this position soon. Should be interesting to see which direction they go.

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at www.si.com/nfl/bills and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.