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WR Gabe Davis coming home, signs with Jaguars

Gabe Davis had one thing in mind as the NFL’s free agency period opened Monday, and the Jacksonville Jaguars were happy to oblige. The former UCF receiver, who played his first four professional seasons with the Buffalo Bills landed a three-year $39 million contact with the Jags and he said he could not be happier.

The contract calls for $11 million at signing and is laced with incentives.

“I just got off the phone with the GM, so … I’ve signed with the Jaguars,” Davis said. “I’m happy, man. I’ll be back home, playing for Jacksonville … It’s big time. Making $13 million, up to $16 million a year, so it’s good.”

Pictures: Gabe Davis, Sanford Seminole

There were plenty of teams that had offers to pitch at Davis, but the Sanford Seminole product’s wishes were simple. He wanted to be home, and the Jags welcomed him with open arms.

“I knew this was going to be an option as we got closer to free agency, and to be able to go back home with the family is great,” Davis said. “I’m excited. I’m a big fan of the Jaguars and happy to be a part of them.”

No one was happier about the decision than Davis’ mother, Allana Davis, one of the more vocal NFL moms on social media. She was ecstatic Monday.

“That was my prayer … so God heard my prayers,” Davis of her son signing with Jacksonville. “I feel relieved, first off, because it’s really been nerve-wracking with the unknowns and the waiting around.

“There’s relief, but also Jacksonville is a really good place for many reasons. Of course, selfishly, he’s going to be home. … but I wanted him to go wherever he was going to be happy.”

In Jacksonville, Davis will be reunited with his former Buffalo wide receivers coach Chad Hall, who spent his first year with the Jags this past season.

“To be able to go play with Chad Hall, and then, of course, Trevor Lawrence is a great quarterback,” Davis said. “I’ll also get to join my buddy Mitch Morris and I know Christian Kirk as well, so I’m excited.”

Davis had four solid years in Buffalo but grew a bit frustrated with the lack of targeted throws coming his way in certain games this past season. He had one game — a Week 7 loss to the Jets — in which he was not targeted. The Bills’ No. 1 receiver, Stefon Diggs, was the main benefactor of quarterback Josh Allen’s passing, but the dropoff in targets between Diggs and Davis was somewhat baffling. Diggs averaged 11 targets per game while Davis averaged just three.

“I loved Buffalo and everything they did for me. It was great,” Davis said.

It’s not that the Bills didn’t use Davis. They got plenty out of the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder. Considered one of the best blocking receivers in the NFL, Davis was instrumental in blocking schemes for the Bills. Davis said he enjoyed his time in Buffalo, and he was a team captain this past season.

“It’s a business, and it is what it is,” Davis said when asked about his feelings on the lack of targets last season. “Everything has to fall into place for things to go your way in this league, and it’s tough. I feel like everything that happens, happens for a reason, and so now I get an opportunity to be somewhere else. I’m just excited for that.”

Davis said he has not talked with the Jaguars about how the team plans to use him, but he definitely has his eyes on that No. 1 receiver spot.

“That would be big time,” Davis said. “I feel like I’ve worked really hard to be in this position and to finally, hopefully, get the opportunity to be able to be [No. 1 receiver] for Jacksonville is special.”

In Buffalo, Davis caught 163 passes for 2,730 yards and 27 touchdowns, but now he’s looking to set his own course, and that starts in Jacksonville.

“It’s a dream come true to come home and play in front of the people that you love,” Davis said. “It’s gonna be awesome being able to be close to home with my family and being able to play with the great players that Jacksonville has.”

Davis set an NFL record for most TD receptions in a playoff game in 2022 with four in a loss at Kansas City. During his four seasons in the NFL, Davis ranked No. 1 in five categories: first-down rate (78.9%), touchdown rate (17.8%), depth of target (16.3 yards), yards per reception (17.3), and 10th in total touchdowns with 27, plus six TD catches in the playoffs.

Chris Hays covers high school and college football, and the NFL. You can find him on X OS_ChrisHays or at Instagram @OS_ChrisHays. He can be reached via email at chays@orlanodsentinel.com.