The Buffalo Bills have avoided heading to free agency with slot receiver and punt/kicker returner Isaiah McKenzie, as the team announced a new two-year deal on Sunday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network says it’s two years and up to $8 million. It will be interesting to see how the deal is structured.
McKenzie had an up and down season for the Bills in 2021 playing on a veteran minimum contract. He was inactive for two games after punt fielding became a concern, but stormed back with 11 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots in Week 15. He finished the season with 20 receptions, 178 receiving yards, that lone receiving touchdown, nine rushes, 47 rushing yards, and a rushing TD.
Our Jeff Kantrowski broke down McKenzie’s 2021 season for us, and cautioned that he isn’t a direct replacement for Cole Beasley, but can be a successful slot receiver.
“Isaiah McKenzie had a career breakout against New England but there is a question of sustainability. McKenzie’s speed is supplemented by a good set of hands and a variety of ways he can be brought in to cause some chaos. His athletic profile suggests that’s he’s physically capable of a complex route tree, but it appears the Bills are convinced otherwise with a clear emphasis on gadget plays and crossing routes.”
Beasley has been given permission to seek a trade.
- 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