In March of 2022, the Buffalo Bills decided to cut wide receiver Cole Beasley after a tough season. Reports came out saying it was due to off-the-field issues and some of his worst statistics since joining the team.
He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in September 2022, but that stint didn’t last long, as he played only two games before retiring. The 11-year wide out mentioned he wanted to become a “full-time dad and husband”, but that didn’t stand.
There was speculation that part of the reason he got released was due to his off-the-field issues. We don’t know for sure, but Beasley mentioned on Twitter in August 2022 that things changed and he won’t regret leaving. Well, being gone didn’t last long. A little over two months later, it has been announced that he is returning to Buffalo.
What Does Beasley Bring to the Table?
After a remarkable 2020 season with the Buffalo Bills, Cole Beasley had a bit of a down year last season. He recorded the same amount of receptions with 82, but his efficiency dropped significantly. Although he caught the same amount of passes in both years, his yards per reception went down from 11.8 to 8.5. His age started to show a bit. This caused his defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) down from 267, which ranked 12th, to -46, which ranked 88th among qualified wide receivers.
Beasley wasn’t as effective with the ball in his hands last season, but was still reliable when the ball was thrown his way. He ranked 10th in catch rate at 73% last season, which was down only 4% from 2020. He might not have the same burst he used to; however, he still has some of the best hands in the league.
How Cole Beasley Helps the Buffalo Bills
So what does this mean for the Bills this season? It means that Josh Allen has his safety valve back. Beasley was always Allen’s go-to on short yardage and third down situations. Buffalo has been lacking that reliable slot receiver this year. They rank 13th in the NFL in the red zone at 57.45%. It’s a big difference from 2021, when they were first in the NFL at 66.28%.
Beasley will help take pressure off of Allen and Stefon Diggs, being able to help space the field. Reports are that Allen asked the organization to bring back Beasley. This tells us that Allen knows the Bills needed good hands, as the team ranks in the top three in the league for dropped passes.
The Bills have now added two veteran wideouts (John Brown and Cole Beasley). We’ll see if they made the correct decision as they hope to lock down the #1 seed in the AFC.