Gabriel Davis

Bills’ Gabe Davis To Miss Week 2

The Bills’ passing attack will see one of its top cogs miss Week 2. Gabe Davis is not expected to play Monday night, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets.

Davis suffered a noncontact ankle injury during Buffalo’s Saturday practice, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. It will lead to an absence against the Titans. This is an early blow to a Bills team coming off a dominant season-opening win over the Rams. The Bills have officially declared Davis inactive.

After Buffalo let Emmanuel Sanders walk in free agency — months ahead of the veteran’s retirement — Davis moved into the team’s starting lineup opposite Stefon Diggs on the outside. The team also released Cole Beasley this offseason, leading to an Isaiah McKenzieJamison Crowder slot pairing. Both the inside receivers played extensively in Week 1. Each should be expected to play a bigger role tonight.

A former fourth-round pick, Davis has been a steady part of Buffalo’s passing game since his rookie season. The Central Florida alum surpassed 500 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons, despite the presences of John Brown and then Sanders as starters. Davis delivered one of the great receiving games in NFL history in January, catching a playoff-record four touchdown passes in the Bills’ shootout loss to the Chiefs. That offered the Bills more than enough evidence to indicate the 6-foot-2 target was ready for a full-time role in 2022.

Depth-wise, Jake Kumerow and fifth-round pick Khalil Shakir round out Buffalo’s receiving corps. The rookie, who topped 1,100 receiving yards as a Boise State senior, did not dress for the Bills’ Los Angeles opener. Shakir should be expected to suit up Monday, with ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen indicating the team has confidence the rookie can contribute (Twitter link). Having famously received an Aaron Rodgers endorsement, Kumerow has been with the Bills since 2020. He has played mostly on special teams, having caught just three passes for 50 yards as a Bill.

Bills Re-Sign WR Isaiah McKenzie

The Bills have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract with wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The deal is reportedly worth $8MM, the biggest payday McKenzie has seen in his five-year career. 

McKenzie was picked up by the Bills off waivers after being waived by the Broncos, who drafted him in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. After finishing out that initial contract in Buffalo, he rode out two one-year deals in 2020 and 2021 worth around $1MM each.

His first year in Buffalo saw him used as the primary kick returner and a bit of a gadget player on offense, receiving and helping out in the rushing game after injuries to running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory. In his first full season as a Bill, his returner role was diminished with the addition of Andre Roberts, but he continued as a special teamer and gadget player, even contributing in Week 17 as a reserve cornerback.

After re-signing on his first one-year deal in Buffalo, McKenzie saw his most productive season in 2020. McKenzie saw career highs in receptions (30), receiving yards (282), and receiving touchdowns (5). He also recorded his first special teams touchdown on an 84-yard punt return.

The 2021 NFL season didn’t see a large change in McKenzie’s offensive production, but he re-cemented his role as the team’s return specialist, which appears to be the basis for his new contract. McKenzie did see his role on the offense increase a bit when Cole Beasley missed time due to COVID-19.

With star-receiver Stefon Diggs and Beasley set to return, along with Gabriel Davis who emerged as the team’s third receiver for the future, this signing gives the Bills a solid one through four in their receiving corps, with McKenzie set to continue handling return duties.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/24/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Baltimore Ravens

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: S Chuck Clark, C Trystan Colon
  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: RB Nate McCrary
  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: QB Chris Streveler

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: DB Jordan Fuller, TE Tyler Higbee
  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Cole Williamson

Miami Dolphins

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: RB Gerrid Doaks

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Travis Homer
  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: OL Pier-Olivier Lestage

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bills To Place WR Gabriel Davis, OL Cody Ford On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Already down Cole Beasley due to his placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Bills will be without one of their other receiving weapons against the Patriots. Gabriel Davis is going on the virus list, Sean McDermott said (via ESPN.com’s Alaina Getzenberg, on Twitter).

Offensive lineman Cody Ford will join Davis on the COVID list. Ford has bounced in and out of Buffalo’s starting lineup this season; Davis has become a key target for Josh Allen. Davis is unvaccinated, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). He will miss Week 16, and his Week 17 status is up in the air due to the 10-day quarantine period for unvaccinated players.

A 2020 fourth-round pick, Davis stepped into a more prominent role last week due to Emmanuel Sanders‘ injury absence. Davis has four touchdown receptions over the past three games, including two during a five-catch, 85-yard game against the Panthers in Week 15. The Central Florida alum has 13 touchdown grabs in two seasons.

While Beasley and Davis are set to be out of the picture in the Bills’ pivotal Patriots rematch, Sanders is looking likely to return after missing Week 15. The 12th-year veteran, who is battling a knee injury, practiced fully Thursday. His presence will be crucial, given the Bills’ sudden receiver availability issues.

Ford, selected in Round 2 in 2019, has started seven games for the Bills this season. Seeing time at tackle and guard, Ford has struggled, with Pro Football Focus rating the Oklahoma product as its fourth-worst guard this season. The Bills were already shorthanded up front last week, with left tackle Dion Dawkins and left guard Jon Feliciano going on the virus list. This pushed Ford back into the starting lineup. Both Dawkins and Feliciano remain on the list. Dawkins dealt with complications from his previous COVID bout this summer, while Feliciano said this week (via WIVB) he was also hospitalized due to the virus.

The Bills activated tackle Bobby Hart from their practice squad reserve/COVID list Friday but could certainly benefit from news of Dawkins or Feliciano being cleared.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/24/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. Teams had until 3pm today to cut their rosters down to 80 players.

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Waived: QB Kenji Bahar

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: OT Casey Tucker

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: K Ryan Succop
  • Waived/injured: OT Chidi Okeke

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Bills Elevate Kenny Stills From Practice Squad

The Bills made a high-profile wide receiver addition late in the season, signing Kenny Stills. Ahead of its first AFC championship game in 27 years, the team may be set to deploy Stills in a game for the first time.

The Bills promoted Stills from the practice squad Saturday. With Gabriel Davis questionable to face the Chiefs, Stills profiles as overqualified insurance. Davis is battling an ankle injury, one that prevented him from practicing until Friday. The rookie managed only a limited session then.

Stills languished as a seldom-used Texans cog this season, with Bill O’Brien reshuffling Houston’s receiving corps and leaving the veteran deep threat behind the likes of Will Fuller and newcomers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. After playing a key role last season, Stills caught just 11 passes during the 2020 slate. The Texans waived him in November, though they could have used him soon after. Fuller’s subsequent PED ban and a Cooks injury left Deshaun Watson with a skeleton-crew wideout corps for a time in December.

No team claimed Stills, leading him to Buffalo ahead of the Bills’ Week 17 game. The twice-traded wideout has resided on Buffalo’s practice squad since. Prior to this season, the 28-year-old wideout contributed consistently as an auxiliary target. Stills posted at least 550 receiving yards in each season from 2016-19, scoring 25 touchdowns in that span.

With Davis’ status murky, Stills could be called upon to join fellow vets Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and John Brown in action Sunday in Kansas City.

Bills Sign A.J. Epenesa, Jake Fromm

On Friday, the Bills agreed to terms with three of their picks from the 2020 NFL Draft. Second-round edge rusher A.J. Epenesa, fourth-round receiver Gabriel Davis, and fifth-round quarterback Jake Fromm are all under contract, per a club announcement. 

Epenesa was viewed as a first-round prospect, up until a shaky showing at the combine. There, the Iowa product ran a slower-than-expected 5.04-second 40-yard dash and lacked athleticism at 275 pounds. Still, he’s coming off of double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons and also profiles as a solid defender against the run.

Fromm also saw his stock slip. At one point in time, evaluators said he’d be the No. 1 overall pick. Then, last year happened – the Georgia QB completed just 60.8% of his passes and most scouts now see him as a solid backup type. That’ll be his role in Buffalo, where he’ll sit behind Josh Allen.

With this trio officially in the fold, the Bills’ only remaining straggler is third-round running back Zack Moss. Here’s the full rundown of their draft class, via PFR’s team-by-team tracker:

2-54: AJ Epenesa, DE (Iowa): Signed
3-86: Zack Moss, RB (Utah)
4-128: Gabriel Davis, WR (UCF): Signed
5-167: Jake Fromm, QB (Georgia): Signed
6-188: Tyler Bass, K (Georgia Southern): Signed
6-207: Isaiah Hodgins, WR (Oregon State): Signed
7-239: Dane Jackson, CB (Pittsburgh): Signed