Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane is not afraid of shaking up the roster. Since he was hired in May 2017, he has made a dozen trades, with the latest one coming late Sunday.
In our latest installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile the man Beane acquired for what Adam Schefter is reporting as a seventh-round pick in 2020.
Name: Corey Coleman
Number: 19 (the number he wore with the Browns, which is available thanks to Quan Bray’s release)
Height/Weight: 5’11” 185 lbs.
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Coleman enters the third year of his rookie contract, a four-year pact that guarantees him a total of $11,204,997. In 2018, Coleman carries a $1,509,545 cap hit.
2017 Recap: Coleman’s second season was eerily similar to his first. He broke his right hand during Cleveland’s second game of the year, a loss against the Baltimore Ravens. After having a strong opener (6 targets, 5 receptions, 53 yards, 1 touchdown), Coleman caught 1 pass for 9 yards before breaking his hand. He missed the team’s next 7 games. When he did return, he had a fantastic outing against an excellent Jacksonville Jaguars defense, securing 6 receptions for 80 yards. He finished the 2017 season with only 23 receptions for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns in 9 games, 8 of which he started. He was targeted 58 times, and his 39.7% catch percentage was the sixth-lowest figure among all qualifying wide receivers (Zay Jones, for reference, was third-lowest, having caught only 36.5% of passes thrown his way).
Positional outlook: Coleman immediately slots in as one of Buffalo’s top four receivers. His excellent speed (4.37 40-yard dash at his pro day in 2015) gives the Bills an element they were sorely missing in their offense—a speed receiver with the ability to open up the field underneath. He should see plenty of playing time alongside Kelvin Benjamin and top slot receiver Jeremy Kerley. Zay Jones, Buffalo’s second-year wideout drafted in the second round in 2017, is the player with whom Coleman will compete most directly for time. That foursome should top the depth chart, with Brandon Reilly, Andre Holmes, Rod Streater, Cam Phillips, Ray-Ray McCloud, Austin Proehl, Robert Foster, Kaelin Clay, and Malachi Dupre will compete for the final spots on the roster.
2018 Offseason: Cleveland brought in a new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, and he didn’t exactly mince words when discussing the importance of the 2018 season for Coleman’s career. The receiver seemed miffed when asked about trade rumors, and reports varied about his level of success and effort in camp. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland.com, Browns head coach Hue Jackson had Coleman sit out of team drills on August 3; after practice, Jackson said it was “probably a little hamstring or something that’s a little sore.”
2018 season outlook: Coleman has underwhelmed thus far in his short NFL career, playing in only 19 of a possible 32 games over the last two years due to injury. However, there is a reason that he was selected in the first round—he has breakaway speed and tremendous big-play potential when healthy, as evidenced by his line from his junior year at Baylor (74/1363/20). Some players just need a change of scenery, and Coleman is most definitely worth the flier the Bills are taking on him. Bills fans especially should know that wide receiver production can vary greatly based on who’s throwing the football (see Woods, Robert and Hogan, Chris) and the overall health of the receiver (Goodwin, Marquise). If we can give some of those departed receivers a pass for their numbers catching passes from Tyrod Taylor, we should definitely view Coleman’s stats through sympathetic eyes given the flaming tire inside of a raging dumpster inferno that perfectly embodies Cleveland’s quarterback situation over his time in orange. If he can stay on the field, Coleman could be a tremendous steal for the Bills this year.