The Buffalo Bills have one of the league’s most talented receiving groups. Whether it’s the league leader in receiving, an up-and-coming youngster, a savvy veteran, an intriguing young player, or a Swiss Army knife you want, the Bills have it. They also boast another valuable niche role: arguably the NFL’s best slot receiver.
When Buffalo signed a veteran wideout known for his prowess in beating players in short-to-intermediate routes, many pundits laughed given quarterback Josh Allen’s struggles in that area of the field as a rookie. Over the last two seasons, Allen and that veteran wideout have built enough chemistry where each has made the other a better player.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we focus on that veteran wideout.
Name: Cole Beasley
Height/Weight: 5’8” 174 lbs
Age: 32 (33 on 4/26/2022)
Experience/Draft: 10; signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a UDFA following the 2012 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed as UFA on 3/13/2019
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Beasley enters the third year of his four-year deal that he signed in March 2019. For this season, he carries a cap hit of $7,341,165 and a dead-cap charge of $3.5 million if the Bills were to release him.
2020 Recap: Beasley was Buffalo’s third wideout in terms of snaps, but he was their second wideout in terms of production, as he finished behind only Stefon Diggs in targets (107), receptions (82), and receiving yards (967). Beasley was on pace for the first 1,000-yard season of his professional career, but he suffered a fractured fibula in Week 16 against the New England Patriots, so he missed Buffalo’s regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins. Beasley gutted it out in the playoffs, though, and he caught 14 passes for 145 yards on 18 targets in Buffalo’s three playoff games. Beasley received an All-Pro vote for the first time in his career, as well.
Positional outlook: Beasley remains one of the top options in the passing game, even with a receiving corps that boasts a tremendous amount of talent. Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie all return, and the Bills added Emmanuel Sanders as a free agent. Isaiah Hodgins is healthy after missing his rookie season due to injury. The Bills drafted Marquez Stevenson and added Tanner Gentry, Lance Lenoir, and Brandon Powell via free agency. Duke Williams and Jake Kumerow return, as well.
2021 Offseason: Beasley is healthy and participating in OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: Barring something odd or an injury, Beasley will be Buffalo’s main slot receiver once again this season. His role as Josh Allen’s security blanket is a huge one in the offense, and he has excelled in it since coming over from Dallas. In his years with the Cowboys, Beasley averaged 51 catches and 524 yards per season (excluding his rookie year). Since arriving in Buffalo, Beasley has averaged 75 catches and 873 yards per season. He and Allen go together like peas and carrots, and they have only improved since the start of 2019. Look for Beasley to have another huge year in 2021.