Why Cole Beasley Should be Released By Buffalo Bills
The Divisive Wide Receiver is coming off a down season filled with COVID controversy.
When the Bills brought Cole Beasley to the team in 2019 from the Dallas Cowboys there were mixed opinions. Many believed him to be a talented but (possibly) aging slot receiver who, if he couldn’t produce with Dak Prescott surely he couldn’t produce with a highly erratic second-year Josh Allen.
Those doubters QUICKLY ate those words as Beasley had his second-highest career receiving yards in his first year with the team. He had his most yards ever during his second year, racking up an impressive 967 yards.
The Stats Began to Drop Off
However, then came the 2021-2022 campaign. Now in all fairness, it was not a BAD year for him. He had 82 catches, matching his total from the year before. The issue is he had a huge drop-off in yards (693) and yards per reception (8.5, down from 11.5 the year before). His yards per target also took a huge hit, going from 9 in 20-21 to 6.2 in 21-22. (Stats from Pro Football Reference)
Beasley and COVID-19
Then there were the COVID Controversies. Beasley was outspoken against the vaccine, among several other things regarding the pandemic. All-season whenever he did catch the ball, boos could be heard from the home fans, which he didn’t like understandably. Though some say those were not boos, but rather fans yelling BEES as in Beasley. Regardless, Beasley was the center of attention
So why should the Bills release him?
Is it because of his stance on COVID? No.
Listen, regardless of your beliefs and leanings what matters is his performance on the field. People talked a lot about him being a locker distraction, especially before the season began, myself included. I was wrong about that. The truth is we have no idea what goes on in the Bills’ locker room and how they deal with these things internally. Clearly, they worked it all out, if it was even an issue to begin with. They had a good season and contended.
His performance wasn’t bad but wasn’t great either. Could that be because he’s a victim to a crowded wide receiver room? Yes. Could he have had injuries limiting his play? Always a possibility. The biggest concern I have is how he went from getting 57 first down off 82 catches in 20-21 to 34 1st downs off 82 catches in 21-22. That’s a lot less. It’s not a career-low, but it’s a low as a Bill.
The main reasons I believe the Buffalo Bills should release Cole Beasley is for the following reasons:
- $7.5 Million Cap hit for the 22-23 season ($1.5M dead money)
- Declining play.
- I’d rather make room for Isaiah McKenzie.
Here’s the thing: McKenzie, while not as productive overall in his career as Beasley, is younger, faster, and simply does more things on the field. We have seen what McKenzie can do when given the playing time at receiver, and it’s explosive. Yes, players like Beasley get first downs… or at least he did. Clearly, that wasn’t as prominent last season. I believe McKenzie can fill this role and then some if given the full-time opportunity.
This is a team that needs that explosion after it was shown that Josh Allen was LAST among starting QBs this season in Yards After Catch. That makes Allen look even more impressive but is massively telling of the Bills’ receivers, and in my opinion, Beasley tops the list. He often failed to get that extra yard this season, for whatever reason. It’s very possible that wasn’t his fault, but it looked as though he just wasn’t as elusive and quick. Beasley went from being a sure thing on 3rd down to a good option, but not a sure thing.
The Bills should focus on speed, elusiveness, and receivers that can make more big plays out of nothing. Easier said than done, and first downs make touchdowns, but unless Beasley can find that sure thing game again I say move on.