Buffalo Bills Free Agency Potential Re-signing: Gabe Davis

Buffalo Bills Free Agency Potential Re-signing: Gabe Davis

Tough decisions need to be made in the coming weeks as free agency approaches when the 2024 season officially starts. Before teams can even begin to see who they can either afford to keep or are worth keeping around. 

One of the top priorities is wide receiver Gabe Davis. He recently completed his fourth year with the team and is looking to potentially cash in on a lucrative second contract. However, sometimes guys who cash in don’t ever live up to their potential either due to production or injury. This becomes a buyer beware situation and causes frustration within fan bases. 

Let’s look at the injury concerns moving forward with Davis and considerations on whether to re-sign him.

Injury History

College Injuries

No publicly reported issues according to the injury analysis back in 2020.

Pro Injuries

2020 Bills

Leg contusion, preseason, missed 0 games.

High ankle sprain, right side, Divisional round, missed 0 games.

Outside of an ill-timed ankle injury trying to haul in a touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round, Davis was healthy during this rookie season. 

By video, there was concern for a high-ankle sprain with how he planted on his foot coming down. He managed to gut through the injury in the AFC Championships where they ended up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.

2021 Bills

Right ankle injury, Week 1, missed 0 games. 

COVID, Week 16, missed 1 game.

Once again, a right ankle sprain slowed Davis in the early portion of the season when he suffered the injury in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He appears to jam his ankle trying to jump and land near the goal line midway through the third quarter in the surprise loss. 

Despite not missing any games, he was largely unproductive until mid-November where he broke out for 100 yards against the New York Jets in Week 10. He also didn’t see more than two targets during that span with the exception of 4 receptions on 5 targets for 29 yards and a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8.

The only other time he missed was when he had COVID which forced him to miss Week 16.

2022 Bills

Right high-ankle sprain, Week 2, missed 1 game.

Davis was hampered by a high-ankle sprain suffered in last practice prior to Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans. He missed the following game and was slowed by the ankle at times during the first half of the season. He did have several breakout games including a beat down of the Pittsburgh Steelers securing three receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

2023 Bills

Left Knee PCL sprain Week 18, missed 2 games. 

Davis managed to stay healthy all year and was available until the playoffs when he suffered a left knee PCL sprain in the second quarter. This was as a result of running into the end zone and tripping, landing directly on his knee. 

He attempted to play through the injury until he tried to pivot on a route and the knee buckled backwards. Due to the instability within the knee, he was not healthy enough to play in either of the Bills playoff games. 

Injury Concerns

The only concerns I have is with the multiple right ankle injuries due to the residual laxity from the sprains. This is a minor issue as he could suffer future injuries to the area which could lead to missed time. It’s worth noting the presence of high-ankle sprains in the area won’t necessarily lead to further high-ankle sprains.

As for the PCL sprain, they fortunately rarely require surgery and heal on their own with rehab. There may be minor residual laxity within the joint, but this would also be seen within his ankle due to those previous injuries.

These should not be a deterrent to sign him, whether it’s the Bills or another team. 

Market Value

Spotrac has his projected market value at $13.6 million AAV which would easily price him out of Buffalo’s range. The comparable players in that age and production range are Allen Lazard, Michael Gallup, Mike Williams, and Christian Kirk. 

On a surface level, Davis is equal or even better than all of them besides Kirk. I’d make the argument that he is at the same level as Kirk. What Davis has going for him is his availability. He’s missed only 3 games due to injury over the last four seasons whereas everyone else on the list has had significant injuries or injuries that have caused more missed time than what Davis has missed. 

Should he sign for that money, he wouldn’t even be making top-25 money when compared to contracts from the 2023 season. Add in the salary cap going up an extra $30 million, there’s plenty of available money to open the purse strings for teams looking for proven wide receiver talent. 

Davis is big on taking care of his body during the season and even built a rehab facility down in Orlando for his offseason training. While that preparation can’t prevent all injuries, it certainly has allowed him to minimize the time he’s had to miss due to injury. His availability alone warrants a nice pay raise and frankly, he is a proven commodity that can command top dollar even though he may not appear to be a super star.

He has figured he will be moving onto another team based on the video he posted last week on his Instagram.

Stay or Leave

Davis has been a big reason behind the Bills success over the last four seasons. He has ingrained himself into the team fabric and would continue to help promote the culture. 

There are plenty of critics of Davis that don’t believe he is great or consistent enough to warrant a big free agent contract. And they may be somewhat right. But Davis has far exceeded his draft selection as a 2020 fourth rounder and has proven production year over year. 

He’s earned the right to leave and determine his true market worth.

Final Thoughts 

As much as Davis would benefit from staying in Buffalo, the market is simply too hot for him to not cash in. If the Bills can find a way to structure a contract that keeps him around, go for it. But it’s probably best to let him go get his money with a great chance to live up to the contract due to his availability. 

Good on Davis to create generational wealth and potentially take the next step in his career. Whoever signs him should get a player that should at least have a reliable shot at playing up to his contract. 

I wish Gabriel Davis the best in his next chapter.