McKenzie agreed to a two-year, $8 million contract extension with the Bills on Sunday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. McKenzie was scheduled to hit free agency but instead will stick with the Bills after posting 20 catches for 178 yards and one touchdown to go along with nine carries for 47 yards and another score last season. The 26-year-old primarily worked as a return man and averaged 24.3 yards per kick return and 7.7 yards per punt return in 2021. Emmanuel Sanders is a pending free agent and Cole Beasley is seeking a trade, so McKenzie could be more involved in the offense next season depending on Buffalo's offseason additions at wide receiver.
McKenzie recorded one reception for a three-yard gain and carried three times for 15 yards across his 16 snaps on offense in Sunday's 42-36 overtime loss to the Chiefs in the divisional round. After busting out for 11 catches and 124 yards from scrimmage in the Bills' Week 16 win over the Patriots while both Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley were out of the lineup, McKenzie predictably saw his snap counts and targets trend downward in the games that followed. That being said, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll made more of an effort to keep McKenzie involved over the Bills' final two regular-season contests and two playoff games compared to the first half of the campaign, with the 26-year-old garnering no fewer than four touches in any of those contests. Buffalo will likely look to retain McKenzie this offseason, but he could face a difficult path to earning more work on offense unless the Bills choose not to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders while also eschewing any major additions at receiver through the draft or free agency.
McKenzie caught one of two targets for six yards and rushed once for three yards in Sunday's 29-15 win over the Falcons. Just as a welcome door opened for McKenzie in Week 16 due to the absences of Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, allowing him to post an 11-125-1 line, it shut just as quickly when his two teammates returned from the COVID-19 protocols to play this week against Atlanta. McKenzie should serve in his jack-of-all-trades role the rest of the way, barring injury to one of his teammates higher on the depth chart. While he has a tendency to sneak into the end zone on occasion, he won't be catching 11 balls on a single afternoon again anytime soon.
McKenzie could be in line to see decreased work on offense with Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis both back from the reserve/COVID-19 list, Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic reports. Even though Emmanuel Sanders is inactive Sunday with a knee injury, there are still three healthy wideouts presumably ahead of McKenzie on the depth chart, so there's a risk he's relegated back to return duties despite an outstanding effort in Week 16. With Beasley and Davis both out last week against New England, the door was open for McKenzie to log a career game, and he did just that by catching 11 of his 12 targets for 125 yards and a score. Amended NFL protocol will allow the position group to get closer to full strength faster than expected, however, so it's unclear what might be left over for McKenzie, even in a favorable matchup against Atlanta.
McKenzie caught 11 of 12 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 33-21 win over the Patriots. He also rushed once for minus-1 yard. McKenzie hadn't been targeted more than three times in a game this season coming in but thrived in a larger role with both Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He opened the scoring with a three-yard touchdown reception and hauled in a 28-yard pass to set up a fourth-quarter Devin Singletary touchdown en route to career highs in targets, catches and receiving yards. Davis has already been ruled out for the team's Week 17 matchup with the Falcons, but Beasley could be back for that one. Either way, McKenzie should retain a prominent role in the game plan against the beatable Atlanta secondary after this breakout performance.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||@Los Angeles Rams||22||22.05|
|6||10/16||@Kansas City Chiefs||28||23.80|
|8||10/30||Green Bay Packers||14||20.67|
|9||11/06||@New York Jets||13||20.65|
|13||12/01||@New England Patriots||5||18.56|
|14||12/11||New York Jets||13||20.65|
|18||01/08||New England Patriots||5||18.56|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||33||26||238||2||14||9.15||38|