Isaiah McKenzie

Colts Re-Sign WR Isaiah McKenzie, Place TE Jelani Woods On IR

5:23pm: McKenzie’s release has proven to be a paper transaction. The Colts announced he has been re-signed, so his time with the team will continue. To open a roster spot to make the McKenzie reunion possible, second-year tight end Jelani Woods was placed on IR. The latter – who has been named by some as a breakout candidate for 2023 – will thus be sidelined for at least the first four weeks of the season.

1:50pm: Making three waiver claims Wednesday, the Colts needed to clear roster space. Isaiah McKenzie will be one of the players moved off Indianapolis’ 53-man squad.

The Colts claimed tackle Ryan Hayes (from the Dolphins), defensive end Isaiah Land (from the Cowboys) and guard Josh Sills (from the Eagles). D-tackle McTelvin Agim and offensive lineman Carter O’Donnell join McKenzie in being cut to make room.

This is the second time a team has cut McKenzie this year. The Colts gave the 5-foot-8 slot receiver a one-year deal worth $1.32MM. The only dead money that will come via this release will be the $403K guarantee Indy authorized. The Colts picked up McKenzie not long after the Bills dropped him this offseason.

As a result of this release, the Colts have just three wide receivers — Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, third-round rookie Josh Downs — on their active roster. Indy also moved on from veterans Amari Rodgers, James Washington and Breshad Perriman this week. Though, Rodgers and former seventh-round pick Mike Strachan are back on the practice squad. The Colts will need to make some adjustments before Week 1, as teams do not go with three-wideout gameday configurations.

Downs is on track to work in the slot alongside Pittman and Pierce, while the Bills picked up Deonte Harty from the Saints shortly after cutting McKenzie. The Bills had given McKenzie a two-year, $4.4MM deal in 2022, keeping his Buffalo resurgence going. McKenzie scored 15 touchdowns with the Bills, including five in 2021, and posted a career-high 423 receiving yards last season. Despite the Bills also using him as a gadget weapon, they did not opt to keep the 28-year-old playmaker around after an inconsistent receiving campaign.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: AFC South

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These ColtsJaguarsTexans and Titans moves are noted below.

Houston Texans



Signed to practice squad:

Indianapolis Colts

Placed on IR:




Signed to practice squad: 

Jacksonville Jaguars



Signed to practice squad:

Tennessee Titans



Signed to practice squad:


Released from IR via injury settlement:

Colts To Sign WR Isaiah McKenzie

Isaiah McKenzie‘s time with the Bills came to an end last week, but he has quickly found a new home. The receiver has agreed to a deal with the Colts, per his agency (Twitter link).

The 27-year-old had a four-plus-year spell in Buffalo, following his time with the Broncos. His production became consistent over that span, and he earned a two-year deal to remain with the Bills last offseason. However, he became a cap casualty in the opening days of free agency amidst other moves the team has made in its receiver room.

McKenzie had a career-year in 2022, posting 423 yards and four touchdowns on 42 catches. Those totals, along with his 1,112 career yards on kick returns, made the slot man one of the more intriguing options available in the second wave of free agents in this year’s class. His roster spot with the Bills became much less secure after they signed Deonte Harty to add to their return game, but McKenzie will now turn his attention to a third AFC employer.

The Colts have a number of taller receivers on their roster, including recent draftees Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce. Their most expensive wideout in terms of AAV, Ashton Dulin, also comfortably dwarfs McKenzie in size. The latter stands at 5-foot-8, so he will be a unique member of the unit in that regard. He will look to build off of his recent success with Buffalo in particular, though the Colts’ quarterback situation is far different than the one he is departing.

Indianapolis saw Parris Campbell sign with the Giants last week, so McKenzie will look to fill his spot in the lineup. The Colts’ struggles in the passing game over the past few years has no doubt been linked to their never-ending search for a long-term quarterback, but it is also a reflection of their struggles in finding multiple productive wideouts. McKenzie could give them a complimentary option in the slot to match with Pittman and Co. on the outside as the team looks to take a step forward on offense in 2023.

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.

Bills To Release WR Tavon Austin

The Bills picked up Tavon Austin midway through the offseason, but the former top-10 pick has not seen any game action. As a result, the sides are parting ways.

Austin is no longer on Buffalo’s practice squad, according to WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio (on Twitter). This is a mutual parting, per Capaccio, aimed at Austin finding a better opportunity elsewhere. A team could have plucked the former Rams investment off the Bills’ P-squad, but Austin would not have been free to choose another destination this way.

This Austin news comes after the Bills have sustained injuries at the receiver position. Jamison Crowder suffered a fractured ankle, Ian Rapoport of tweets, and Isaiah McKenzie went down with a concussion during Buffalo’s Week 4 game in Baltimore. It does not sound like the Bills were planning to make Austin part of their solution, despite the veteran’s past as a slot/gadget player. Behind the Stefon DiggsGabriel Davis duo, the Bills roster rookie Khalil Shakir and Jake Kumerow. Should McKenzie be unable to go against the Steelers, the Bills will need to make at least one addition to their receiving corps.

Austin, 32, never ended up justifying the investment the Rams made in him, though the diminutive playmaker had moments during his time in St. Louis and Los Angeles. The Jaguars ended up using Austin as a rotational receiver during points last season. He caught 24 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown for the 3-14 team. The West Virginia product played a bit part as a Cowboys receiver in each of the previous two years.

The Bills are expected to replace Austin on their 16-man P-squad with Jaquarii Roberson, Garafolo adds (on Twitter). The Steelers cut Roberson, a Wake Forest product, from their taxi squad on Tuesday.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Wilson, Hall, Pats

The Bills have an obvious 1-2 punch at wide receiver in Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. In the slot, though, it has looked, recently, like Buffalo may be moving towards a bit of a position battle, according to Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic.

After initially favoring Isaiah McKenzie in the first few weeks of the season, the Bills moved closer to an even split of snaps between McKenzie and Jamison Crowder in the team’s win last week over the Titans. Buscaglia notes that, in the game, the duo were only on the field at the same time for three snaps, indicating a one-or-the-other situation. In the remainder of the game, excluding garbage time, Buscaglia counted 21 offensive snaps for McKenzie and 16 for Crowder, a stark difference from the snap advantage McKenzie enjoyed to begin the season. This could lead one to believe that Buffalo is becoming more comfortable with the consistency it gets out of Crowder than the all-or-nothing, big play potential it gets out of McKenzie.

This theory failed to hold up in today’s loss to the Dolphins. Though snap totals have yet to be reported, quarterback Josh Allen clearly favored McKenzie today, targeting him nine times to only three for Crowder. McKenzie rewarded the extra attention with seven catches for 76 yards and a touchdown, tacking on a six yard rush, while Crowder only reeled in one pass for nine yards. If the Bills staff needed to see consistent production out of McKenzie, today was a good start.

Here are a few more rumors from the AFC East, starting with some usage notes from the Jets:

  • There was early concern surrounding New York’s usage of rookie first-round pick Garrett Wilson after the tenth-overall pick only saw the field for 38 of the offense’s 79 snaps in Week 1, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Two weeks later any concerns have certainly been quelled for the time being. Wilson’s playing time did increase to over 50% of the team’s offensive snaps, increasing to 61% in Week 2. While Jets fans may want to see him on the field even more often, he’s made the most of his playing time, becoming the favorite target for quarterback Joe Flacco. After three weeks, Wilson’s 32 targets and 214 receiving yards outpace Elijah Moore‘s 22 targets or Corey Davis‘ 187 receiving yards, both second on the team, despite both older receivers spending more time on the field.
  • There’s been an unpredictable fall from grace this year for Jets cornerback Bryce Hall, according to Cimini. Last year, Hall was fourth in the entire league for defensive snaps played. So far this year, it’s been a completely different story. Hall understandably lost his starting job to rookie fourth-overall pick Ahmad Gardner, but after three weeks, it appears that he’s also fallen behind the other four cornerbacks on the roster. Hall only played five defensive snaps in Week 1 and has been a healthy scratch for the past two games.
  • According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, the Patriots were experiencing some punter-envy today. Reiss reported that Ravens rookie punter Jordan Stout was “highly regarded by the Patriots in this year’s draft.” Stout entered the week ranking 30th in the league for average punt distance, but, even after a dismal 23 yard punt today, he was able to improve to 20th in the league with a 45.9 yard average.

Latest On Bills’ WR Competition

The Bills are in line to once again have one of the league’s most prolific passing attacks in the NFL in 2022. They have undergone some changes at the receiver position, though, setting up a competition for the starting role in the slot to replace Cole Beasley

Isaiah McKenzie “appears to have an early lead” to land that role, based on his usage during the spring, according to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg. The 27-year-old has been a starter for only 18 of the 53 games he has played in with the Bills, so seeing first-team reps on a full-time basis would be somewhat new. McKenzie has played just one-quarter of Buffalo’s offensive snaps the past two seasons, totalling 50 receptions, 460 yards and six touchdowns.

The former fifth-rounder has, of course, showcased his speed on special teams as well. He turned 24 kick returns into 584 yards last year, adding 147 yards on punt returns as well. As a result of his overall production, McKenzie earned a two-year, $8MM extension this offseason. His speed gives him a complimentary skillset to No. 1 wideout Stefon Diggs, and a very different profile to his primary competition for the slot role.

The Bills added veteran Jamison Crowder in free agency, after a three-year stint with the Jets. He had a down year in 2021, but was a consistent presence in New York’s offense the two prior years (137 catches, 1,532 yards, 12 touchdowns), giving him the opportunity to replace Beasley as a dependable chain-mover. In addition, Getzenberg notes that the 29-year-old has stood out during his first spring practices with the team.

Between Diggs and Gabriel Davis, the Bills are set on the perimeter at the WR position. As Getzenberg predicts, though, the competition between McKenzie and Crowder to determine the pecking order in the slot will be one of the most intriguing ones in training camp next month.

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.

Bills To Re-Sign Isaiah McKenzie

The Bills are keeping their gadget player. Buffalo has agreed to terms on a new deal for receiver/returner Isaiah McKenzie, his agency announced on Twitter. It’s a one-year deal worth $1.15MM with $350K guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

Before he decided to re-sign with the Bills, the Bears were a team that expressed interest in McKenzie as a free agent, a source told Jeremy Fowler of (Twitter link). McKenzie entered the league as a fifth-round pick of the Broncos back in 2017. He struggled fielding punts, was cut midway through the 2018 season, and promptly claimed by Buffalo. Since then, he’s turned into a very nice find for Sean McDermott.

On his only punt return of the season in 2020, he returned it 84 yards four a touchdown. He couldn’t be the normal returner due to the presence of All-Pro Andre Roberts, but with Roberts signing in Houston McKenzie should be the return guy in 2021.

He also carved out a sizable role on offense, playing around a quarter of the offensive snaps last year. He finished with 30 catches for 282 yards and five touchdowns, and also had ten carries.

East Notes: Williams, Mills, Flowers

Trent Williams has been one of the most-discussed players in the NFL for about a year now, and it presently does not sound like the Redskins are close to trading their disgruntled left tackle. One of the more overlooked talking points, however, is what happens if a trade is not completed?

We recently heard that the team does not plan to release Williams, which means he would remain under contract with the Redskins through 2020. And holding out wouldn’t earn him any leverage with the Redskins or with a team interested in trading for him, so as Albert Breer of writes, Williams would have no choice but to play for Washington next season. He clearly does not want that to happen, but at this point, his clearest path to a lucrative new deal may be to stick it out for one more season with the ‘Skins and prove he is still a top-tier LT.

Let’s round up a few more items from the league’s east divisions:

  • CB Kendall Fuller is back with the Redskins on a four-year deal, and he tells John Keim of that a number of factors brought him back to D.C. The Baltimore native played his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Redskins in 2016, so Washington is home for him. He also cited new head coach Ron Rivera and Rivera’s reputation for developing CBs as a draw, along with the defensive staff as a whole. Fuller indicated that he does not know if he will play primarily in the slot or outside the numbers (Twitter links).
  • The Eagles brought back Jalen Mills on a one-year, $4MM pact, and the club plans on transitioning him from cornerback to safety in the wake of Malcolm Jenkins‘ departure. Mills says that Philadelphia was the only team that wanted to move him to safety (Twitter link via Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94 WIP), but obviously that switch was agreeable to the 2016 seventh-rounder. It’s fair to wonder, however, exactly how much interest Mills was generating as a CB on the open market.
  • Ereck Flowers couldn’t hack it as an offensive tackle in the NFL, but he has reinvented himself as a guard and parlayed a strong showing at LG with Washington in 2019 into a surprising three-year, $30MM contract with the Dolphins last month. This will not come as much of a surprise, but Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says Miami intends to have Flowers line up at guard, though his experience at tackle made him attractive to head coach Brian Flores, who clearly targeted FAs with positional versatility.
  • The Bills opted against giving WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie an RFA tender, but they did re-sign him to a one-year pact just the same. McKenzie told Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News that he did have other free agent offers, but despite the fact that he is unlikely to see more playing time with the Bills in 2020 than he did in 2019, his preference was to return to Buffalo (Twitter link).