Bills Release WR Isaiah McKenzie

The Bills began the 2022 season with Isaiah McKenzie in place as their primary slot receiver, after having re-signed the slot/gadget player. But they are moving on from a deal they authorized last March.

Buffalo released the veteran wide receiver Friday morning. Removing McKenzie’s two-year, $4.4MM contract from the payroll will create $2.8MM in cap space for the defending AFC East champions.

The early days of the league year annually bring cuts, with guarantees vesting in certain deals. McKenzie’s was one of the smaller guarantees coming, but Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan tweets the six-year veteran did have a $250K bonus due this weekend. McKenzie has been with the Bills for most of Sean McDermott‘s tenure, catching on with the team during the 2018 season. The former Broncos draftee stabilized his career in Buffalo, contributing in various capacities, and he is coming off a career-best receiving season (42 receptions, 423 yards).

Deonte Harty‘s Wednesday commitment to join the Bills likely affected McKenzie’s status. The diminutive ex-Saints wideout agreed to terms with the Bills on a deal that more than doubles what they gave McKenzie in 2022. Buffalo signed Harty to a two-year, $9.5MM accord.

Once a fumble-prone Broncos return man, McKenzie became a regular contributor to the Bills’ McDermott-era ascent. Counting his 2020 punt-return score, the 5-foot-8 performer totaled 16 touchdowns with the Bills. Considering McKenzie’s return prowess and experience in the passing game, he should be able to catch on with a third team soon. Nyheim Hines being in place as the Bills’ return specialist covered another of McKenzie’s former bases as well.

Harty joins Khalil Shakir among Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs– and Gabe Davis-fronted receiving corps. The team has not re-signed Jamison Crowder, either. Crowder’s early-season injury and McKenzie and Davis’ inconsistency prompted the Bills to add former starters John Brown and Cole Beasley. Neither of the 30-somethings are on Buffalo’s offseason roster.

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