Bills Could Move on From Gabe Davis After ‘Make or Break’ Year: Report

Gabe Davis

Getty Gabe Davis celebrates with Buffalo Bills fans after catching a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.

This could be the most important season yet for Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis.

After he flashed star potential with a four-touchdown performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2021 playoffs, Davis struggled to follow it up last season. While he did post career highs with 48 catches for 836 yards and seven touchdowns, Davis also struggled with drops and inconsistent play.

Now, William Moy of Pro Football Focus believes Davis is headed to a “make or break” season that could determine his future in Buffalo.

Gabe Davis Saw Dropoff in 2022

Though Davis’ stats improved in 2022, PFF noted that his overall impact saw a dropoff. The analysis outlet gave him a grade of 80.0 for his 2021 season, when he ranked No. 15 in the NFL with 1.93 yards per route run and ranked first in the league by catching 76.9% of his contested targets.

Davis couldn’t follow up last season, Moy noted.

“In 2022, Davis’ 66.3 receiving grade ranked 45th out of 60 receivers who saw at least 75 targets,” Moy wrote. “His average of 1.41 yards per route run dropped him to 37th among receivers, his 27.6% catch rate on contested targets plummeted him down to 56th and his 81.9 passer rating when targeted ranked 44th.”

That led Moy to peg Davis as one of the top five NFL players headed to make-or-break seasons, noting that the Bills could choose to move on at the conclusion of his rookie contract.

“Davis is entering the final year of his contract with the Buffalo Bills, and whether he gets another offer from the team could largely depend on which version of Gabe Davis shows up in 2023,” Moy wrote.

Bills GM Explains Disappointing Season

There were some extenuating circumstances for Davis in 2022, Bills general manager Brandon Beane explained. Speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine in March, Beane revealed that Davis spent the season playing with the after-effects of a high ankle sprain that he suffered in a Week 2 win over the Tennessee Titans.

Beane said the injury made it difficult for Davis to get separation from defenders.

“Not to make excuses, but it definitely bothered him,” Beane said, via the Democrat & Chronicle. “You can just watch the film when he was coming out of his cuts, he was taking an extra step which allowed that defender to stay attached to him as well. He had a few drops that he definitely wants back, but I’ve got a lot of faith in Gabe.”

Bills head coach Sean McDermott also had some praise for the way Davis bounced back from his slow start to the season. While dealing with injuries, Davis made eight receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown through the first four games of the season. He had a much stronger showing over the following five weeks, making 16 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns.

“I thought Gabe had a good year, I really did. It didn’t get off to a great start; there were some turbulent times maybe in the front third of the season,” McDermott said, via the Democrat & Chronicle. “But the thing I thought he handled extremely well was that adversity and he came back.”

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