The Buffalo Bills picked wide receiver Marquez Stevenson in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft even though hey had Cole Beasley and Isaiah McKenzie on the roster. The popular thought at the time was he would push McKenzie off the roster, but that didn’t happen. Could it be how the early offseason in 2022 plays out?
We really have no way of knowing. He was targeted eight times, catching six passes for 68 yards with a long of 42 in the 2021 preseason, but didn’t see any meaningful offensive snaps during the 2021 regular season. He was benched and made inactive after two fumbles on 21 kick and punt returns. That’s probably not a good sign for his future on the team.
If the Bills want to move on, or if McKenzie wants to move on as a free agent (perhaps to Brian Daboll’s New York Giants), Stevenson would be the natural top choice to replace him as the shifty jet sweep receiver in Buffalo’s offense, at least out of the players under contract right now for 2022.
Another name to consider could be Isaiah Hodgins, who has the size to play outside but the route-running ability to factor in as a large slot receiver. It would certainly be a different type of slot receiver than the Bills currently have in either Beasley or McKenzie, but he would definitely be a cheap choice (and a potentially promising one) on a cost-controlled deal.
Stefon Diggs can play in the slot, but that shouldn’t be a main option for him, especially with how thin the Bills are at outside receiver heading into the offseason. Gabriel Davis has cross-trained in the slot, but I see him as an outside receiver, as well. Tanner Gentry doesn’t seem like a player who could play his way onto the roster.
- All-22 Review: Cole Beasley’s 2021 season
- All-22 Review: Isaiah McKenzie’s 2021 season
- Salary cap consequences of releasing Cole Beasley
- Contract projection for Isaiah McKenzie
- In-house replacement options for McKenzie/Beasley
- Free agents available at slot receiver
- NFL Draft options at slot receiver
- Opinion: Bills should use multiple tools to improve slot WR position this offseason