RB J.D. McKissic flips on Buffalo Bills, returns to Washington Commanders on 2-year deal

Running back J.D. McKissic changed his mind about playing for the Buffalo Bills and will return to the Washington Commanders.

Washington initially didn't offer McKissic a deal -- until he agreed to one with Buffalo on Tuesday during the NFL's free-agent negotiating period, agents Doug Hendrickson and CJ LaBoy told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Once McKissic heard Washington was willing to match the offer, he didn't want to leave, the agents said.

McKissic will return to Washington on a two-year deal worth up to $7 million, similar to Buffalo's offer, sources told ESPN.

He's a pivotal player in Washington's offense as a third-down back. He is coming off a neck injury that landed him on injured reserve for the last three games of the season. He also suffered a concussion last season.

In two seasons with Washington, McKissic has caught 123 passes and averaged 8.0 yards per reception. He's considered a strong blocker in protection and also a versatile pass-catcher. McKissic was a receiver in college, and he can run routes other running backs struggle with, such as out-and-ups, adding versatility to Washington's offense.

He's also a popular player in the locker room, owing to his high energy and personality. Washington still has Antonio Gibson as its primary back and also has Jaret Patterson, but it could add another back in the draft.

For the Bills, not bringing in McKissic takes away a pass-catching running back who would have been a great asset to their offense. Buffalo does not have a player on the roster who has shown the ability to be a receiving weapon for quarterback Josh Allen consistently. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss are the only running backs under contract for 2022.

The Bills were last in yards after catch per reception in 2021 (4.28), and adding playmakers like McKissic who can make plays downfield would make sense for this offense. With Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey likely unavailable by trade, potential fits to replace McKissic in free agency include former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and former Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen. Looking to the draft could also be a fit, as the Bills have nine picks to work with. The team invested third-round picks in running backs in 2019 and 2020.

ESPN's Alaina Getzenberg contributed to this report.