ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills traded Olandis Gary to the running back-depleted Detroit Lions on Sunday.
In exchange, the Bills will receive an undisclosed future draft pick.
The move made sense for both teams, as the Bills, anticipating the midseason activation of injured rookie Willis McGahee, were already well-stocked at the position behind starter Travis Henry.
The Lions, meanwhile, were in desperate need at running back. Starter James Stewart will miss up to six weeks after dislocating his right shoulder in Detroit's preseason finale, a 22-16 loss to Buffalo on Thursday.
Gary is entering his fifth NFL season and joined the Bills last spring as a free agent after spending his first four years with Denver.
Playing behind Clinton Portis last year, Gary managed just 147 yards rushing in 13 games, including two starts. His best season came as a rookie, when he had 1,159 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in 12 starts with the Broncos.
Gary was expected to get limited playing time in Buffalo, as Henry is coming off a breakout season in which he finished fifth in the league with 1,438 yards rushing last season.
The Bills also drafted McGahee, the former Miami star, with their first-round pick. McGahee, recovering after tearing three ligaments in his left knee in the Fiesta Bowl, was placed on the reserve non-football injury list.
Under NFL rules, McGahee could be activated after Week 6. The Bills also have two capable backups in four-year veteran Sammy Morris and Joe Burns, who had a promising preseason.
Without Stewart, who led Detroit in rushing the past three seasons, the Lions had no proven backup to step in. Detroit's choices were limited to Shawn Bryson, who's coming off knee surgery; Autry Denson, a four-year journeyman; and Avon Cobourne, an undrafted free agent out of West Virginia.
In other moves, the Bills placed third-string quarterback Travis Brown on the injured reserve list, meaning he will miss the season. Brown dislocated his middle finger during Buffalo's 28-24 preseason victory over St. Louis on Aug. 23.
Buffalo also released six players, including defensive end Marcus Jones, a six-year veteran attempting to make a comeback after missing last season with a knee injury.
Jones spent his first six seasons with Tampa Bay before being released by the Buccaneers.
Also released by Buffalo were defensive end Grant Irons, receiver Rodney Wright, defensive back Scott Turner, running back Ken Simonton and quarterback Jason Johnson.
By cutting Johnson and placing Brown on injured reserve, the Bills are left with two quarterbacks, Drew Bledsoe and backup Alex Van Pelt.