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Isaiah McKenzie: Re-sign or Let Walk?

Is the versatile wide receiver worth the money? Or does Beane & Co. let him walk this offseason?

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The offseason is here for the Buffalo Bills. Yes, it arrived much sooner than we’d hoped, but it’s time to move on. So let’s start with a look at the Bills’ pending free agents. Up first on our free agency round-up is “Lil’ Dirty” himself: Isaiah McKenzie.

McKenzie will be entering his second straight season as an unrestricted free agent. The only thing different this time around is that McKenzie’s value has increased since signing with the Bills last season.

Through his Buffalo tenure, McKenzie has shown how flexible an asset he was to the Bills in Brian Daboll’s system. He returns kicks, runs, throws the ball, and does just about everything in between. But one big question for McKenzie was whether he could prove himself as a true receiver. 

In 2021, one of his best showings was Week 16. In a game where the Bills were missing starting receivers Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley, McKenzie was up for the challenge. He finished the game with career highs of 11 receptions for 125 yards, along with a score. 

This was the game McKenzie demonstrated he could be the next man up.

But overall, McKenzie regressed a bit this year. Maybe it was due to his increased responsibility on the kick and punt return teams – areas in which he struggled every so often – or maybe it was due to loss of reps. He finished the season with 10 fewer receptions, more than 100 fewer yards, and only had one receiving touchdown, compared to five in 2020. The only stats where he saw an increase were rushing yards (38 more) and fumbles (2). 

With Beasley a likely cap casualty, slot receiver is a clear need for 2022. Maybe they fill the role through the draft or free agency, but McKenzie is a legit candidate for the spot.

McKenzie’s 2021 contract was worth $1.275 million. Although he may be undervalued by some, McKenzie is a key depth piece that the Bills can keep using for years on end. 

Isaiah McKenzie Stay or Go: Stay

Projected Offer: 1-2 years, $2-2.3 million per

Cover the Buffalo Bills for the Buffalo Fanatics media group. Follow on Twitter @RubinsteinPete

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