On Tuesday, the Atlanta Falcons released Devin Hester. According to the Falcons, it was a football decision as the return specialist passed his physical. While Hester is certainly on the downside of his career, he can still contribute on kick and punt returns. For that reason, the Buffalo Bills should consider kicking the tires on Hester.
As it stands, the Bills do not have a set return man for kicks or punts. Reportedly, Buffalo's interest in running back Reggie Bush is partly due to the fact that Buffalo believes he could handle punt return responsibilities. However, a better option just became available in the return game and the Bills should at least explore the possibility of signing Hester.
Last season, Hester only played in five games and had 269 total return yards. However, he was rather effective on kick and punt returns in the previous two seasons.
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As a kick returner, the league's kick return rules will likely limit his opportunities. However, he'd still be valuable to have back on shorter kicks and in Buffalo's winds there's no guarantee that opposing teams would be able to kick the ball out of the end zone. Regardless of kick returns, Hester is still valuable for a team looking for a punt returner.
In addition to handling returns, Hester would have as much of a chance as anyone of landing a spot on Buffalo's wide receiver depth chart. Everything behind Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods is wide open so Hester could fight for reps on offense as well. Hester did not record any receptions in 2015, but had 38 catches for 504 yards and two touchdowns back in 2014.
Hester had offseason toe surgery so teams will have to look into how he's healing from that surgery. That said, Hester still has value in today's NFL. Whether or not the Bills kick the tires on Hester is up to them, but he could provide value to a team that lacks any true return men.