Leonard Hankerson to Bills: Latest Contract Details, Comments and ReactionMarch 24, 2016
Seeking to upgrade their receiving corps, the Buffalo Bills have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent Leonard Hankerson.
Hankerson tweeted out "#BillsMafia" on Thursday, indicating the two sides had reached a deal. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the wide receiver signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.
Coming off a disappointing 8-8 season, the Bills found surprising success in the passing game with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. He threw for 3,035 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 games and finished fifth among qualified quarterbacks with 7.99 yards per attempt.
Taylor was able to do that despite having only one wide receiver (Sammy Watkins) who had more than 600 yards receiving.
Hankerson hasn't hit that yardage total since 2012 and bounced around with three teams in 2015, playing one game each for the Bills and New England Patriots and eight games for the Atlanta Falcons.
The 27-year-old had 26 receptions, 327 yards and three touchdowns in limited action for the Falcons. Given Hankerson's relationship with the Bills and head coach Rex Ryan—albeit one that dates back only to last year's regular-season finale—he should be going back to a comfortable situation.
There are significant detriments to Hankerson's game that continue to limit his upside, though. Most notably, his inconsistent hands tend to get him in trouble.
In October, per Rick Drummond of Pro Football Focus, Hankerson had the second-worst drop rate in the NFL with five drops on 23 catchable passes: "Hankerson’s total already surpasses any of his seasons in Washington and has helped his new QB Matt Ryan to fifth on the list of passers suffering the most drops (11)."
The Bills are unlikely to deploy a wide-open passing attack under Ryan. They attempted the second-fewest passes in the NFL last season, but having an option like Hankerson who can stretch the field won't hurt.