Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabe Davis spent much of the offseason in limbo.
While Davis established himself as the team’s No. 2 receiver behind Stefon Diggs through two strong seasons, he struggled with inconsistency last season and Buffalo’s presence in the race to sign DeAndre Hopkins left his place on the depth chart undecided.
But now that Hopkins has officially signed with the Tennessee Titans, Davis’ role has become clear — just in time for what some insiders expect to be a make-or-break season in Buffalo.
Gabe Davis Remains No. 2 in Buffalo
After a record-setting four-touchdown performance in the 2022 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, many insiders predicted Davis would be headed to a breakout season last year. While Davis did put up numbers that put him among the top half of No. 2 receivers in the NFL — notching career highs with 48 catches for 836 yards and seven touchdowns — he struggled with inconsistent play.
In March, Bills general manager Brandon Beane revealed that Davis was bothered all season by a high-ankle sprain suffered in practice prior to the team’s Week 2 win over the Tennessee Titans.
“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.”
With Hopkins now out of the picture and a full offseason to heal, Davis will head into the season as the undisputed No. 2 receiver.
If there is any uncertainty with the wide receiver depth chart in Buffalo, it will be behind Davis. The Bills made a number of changes, parting ways with veterans Isaiah McKenzie, Cole Beasley, Jamison Crowder and John Brown. The Bills brought in free agents Deonte Harty and Trent Sherfield and traded up in the first round to take tight end Dalton Schultz, who is expected to spend plenty of time in the slot.
Decision Looming on Gabe Davis
This will likely be an important season for Davis, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract with no clear indication of whether he will receive an extension. William Moy of Pro Football Focus predicted this would be a “make-or-break” season that will likely determine his future in Buffalo.
“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.”
Moy wrote that Davis may need a strong showing in the coming year to secure a contract extension.
“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.