Reported by Mike Garafolo from NFL Network live from the NFL Combine, the Buffalo Bills will grant wide receiver Cole Beasley permission to seek a trade.
Beasley, at 32 years old, is heading into the final year of his deal with Buffalo worth $6.1 million in yearly total cash. He spent three years with the team after signing a free agent deal in 2019.
Garafolo, who had the initial report, spoke to Bills General Manager Brandon Beane at the NFL Combine. He mentions that Beane is not closing the door on a potential return for the veteran Beasley.
He could potentially be welcomed back on a restructured deal, however it was Beasley and his representatives that approached the team about seeking a trade.
With the potential that Beasley gets traded to another team, there is also a scenario where Buffalo cuts Beasley outright. This would most likely be a move to create more cap space heading into the offseason.
Buffalo would eat $1.5 million in dead cap, however they’d also be saving $6.1 million if they were to move on from the veteran receiver.
Cap issues may not be the only reason the Bills are giving Beasley permission to seek other opportunities, but it also could be the desire to get younger at the position.
This year’s draft is filled with plenty of talent at the receiver position, especially with shifty, speedy guys who thrive in the slot. Not only do you get younger with drafting someone to replace Beasley, but a rookie deal would be much less than Beasley’s annual salary.
To replace Beasley at his full time slot position, it is also possible that the team will look for Isaiah McKenzie to step in to a larger role. McKenzie, who is a free agent this offseason, stepped in for Beasley at various times due to injury or fatigue and served his role just fine.
At just 26 years old, McKenzie can be brought back on a small deal and play a similar role to Beasley in next year’s offense.
Beasley was a critical piece of the Bills’ offense. He contributed massively to the development of Josh Allen, as well as surpassing 80 receptions two out of the three years he spent in Buffalo.
As a slot specialist, Beasley made for a nice mismatch against opposing defenses.
No one knows just yet how the situation will play out, but if the Bills move on from him, they will need to figure out his replacement this offseason. It will be something to keep an eye on.