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2021 NFL Free Agency: WR Isaiah McKenzie is back on a veteran minimum deal

As expected.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

When he re-signed, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie said he didn’t care if he was paid in candy—he wanted to be a member of the Buffalo Bills. Turns out he’s going to be making more than just sugary treats under his new contract, but only because it’s mandated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

As we projected, McKenzie will be making the NFL’s veteran minimum in 2021 just as he did a year ago (per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle). Despite putting up solid numbers in Buffalo’s offense and garnering attention for his electrifying punt return touchdown, he wasn’t able to generate more on the open market.

He gets a $137,500 signing bonus, the most allowable under the Veteran Minimum Exception, and $990,000 in base salary. Of that $1.127 million, $212,500 is fully guaranteed and another $137,500 is guaranteed for injury.

His cap number is $987,500. Using the NFL’s Veteran Minimum Exemption, his cap hit is equal to that of a second-year player but the signing bonus is added on top of that. Add $850,000 to $137,500 and you get the cap figure. Because he knocked off a second-year player making the minimum, the signing adds $137,500 to Buffalo’s cap number at this time.

This is McKenzie’s first year making more than $1 million. In 2020 making the veteran minimum for his years of service, he totaled $962,500 according to Over the Cap.