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Recapping Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane’s draft pick trades

Buffalo’s GM will trade picks for his guy

The Buffalo Bills and general manager Brandon Beane have not been shy about draft pick trades over the last four years. Beane has shown a willingness to trade up to secure a player he covets, but he’s also shown that he will trade back to acquire more darts to throw when he sees fit.

Last year, we went into detail about Beane and his wheeling-and-dealing ways before the 2021 NFL Draft. This year, we’ve updated the article to include details about last year’s trades. Should we expect a trade this weekend? With Beane, anything is possible. Here’s a look back at his trades involving draft picks.


2018

The Bills had two first-round picks in this draft thanks to a trade-down the year prior, so Buffalo held the No. 21 and No. 22 choices in the draft. Between the preseason and the trading deadline in 2017, Beane made three trades that involved draft picks: He sent the Bills’ sixth-round choice and wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and the Rams’ second-round pick. He also dealt cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and the Eagles’ third-round pick. Beane traded linebacker Reggie Ragland to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a fourth-round pick. He also traded quarterback Cardale Jones to the Los Angeles Chargers for a seventh-round choice. Beane dealt defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a conditional sixth-round choice that became a fifth-round choice due to Dareus remaining on the Jaguars’ roster for what remained of the 2017 season after the trade. Finally, Beane sent Buffalo’s own third-round choice, as well as the seventh-rounder acquired in the Jones deal, to the Carolina Panthers for wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. That’s an awful lot of trades under the 2018 banner that actually took place before the 2018 NFL Draft!

In the lead-up to the 2018 NFL Draft, Beane went to work. Here’s the combination of deals that landed the Bills quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds:

  • Traded quarterback Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns for a third-round pick
  • Traded tackle Cordy Glenn, pick No. 21 overall, and a fifth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for pick No. 12 overall and a sixth-round pick
  • Traded pick No. 12, 53, and 56 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for pick No. 7 (Allen) and pick No. 255
  • Traded pick No. 22 and No. 65 to the Baltimore Ravens for pick No. 16 (Edmunds) and pick No. 154

The only player that Buffalo selected in the 2018 NFL Draft with a pick that was originally their own was cornerback Taron Johnson, whom they selected at No. 121 overall. They chose guard Wyatt Teller with the pick acquired for Dareus. They chose defensive tackle Harrison Phillips with the pick acquired for Darby. Safety Siran Neal was the second pick from Baltimore.

Beane knew he needed a franchise quarterback, and he identified Allen as that guy. He made sure to do everything in his power to make Allen a Buffalo Bill, as evidenced by the crazy number of trades it took to procure him.

2019

The first draft-choice trade for the 2019 NFL Draft was a veteran flip at the end of the 2018 preseason, as the Bills traded quarterback A.J. McCarron to the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders for a fifth-round choice. In September 2018, the Bills traded tackle Marshall Newhouse to the Panthers for a conditional draft choice.

This time around, Beane had some moves to make, but he didn’t do anything nearly as crazy as he did in 2018. The Bills moved up two spots in the second round, trading pick No. 40 and pick No. 158 to the Raiders for pick No. 38, which they used to select guard Cody Ford. Buffalo then sent both its fourth-round picks (No. 113 and No. 132) to the Washington Football Team for choice No. 96, which the Bills used on tight end Dawson Knox.

2020

As has been Beane’s modus operandi, the Bills GM flipped two reserve offensive linemen for draft picks at the end of the preseason. He traded center Russell Bodine to the New England Patriots for a sixth-round choice, and then he made a rare misfire by trading Wyatt Teller to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for the Browns’ fifth- and sixth-round picks. The Bills also sent Cleveland a seventh-round choice in that trade. Buffalo was down a seventh-round pick anyway in this draft since they had traded it to the Browns years prior for wide receiver Corey Coleman.

Beane then pulled off a blockbuster move, sending Buffalo’s first, fifth, and sixth-round picks to the Minnesota Vikings for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round choice (which became cornerback Dane Jackson). Beane chose kicker Tyler Bass with one of the two choices acquired for Teller.

2021

Last year’s draft was a quiet one by Beane’s standards, as he only made one trade during the selection meeting. He traded back in the fifth round, dealing pick No. 174 to the Houston Texans for picks No. 203 and 212, both of which were in the sixth round. With the pick they received from Buffalo, Houston made another deal—they sent the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, who chose defensive end Earnest Brown IV. With the picks Buffalo acquired from Houston, Beane chose wide receiver Marquez Stevenson at No. 203 and safety Damar Hamlin at No. 212.

The other pick that Buffalo traded was actually part of the Diggs deal the year prior, as Minnesota had pick No. 134 thanks to the Bills. That fourth-round choice was defensive end Janarius Robinson. Neither of the edge players chosen by other teams with Buffalo’s traded picks appeared in a game last year.


Will Buffalo pick in their assigned spots? Will Beane pull the trigger on another deal? The first round of the 2022 NFL Draft airs on Thursday night. Coverage begins at 8 PM Eastern.