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.