Cole Beasley’s online antics may have an ulterior motive, one NFL analyst is suggesting.
The Buffalo Bills wide receiver has been stirring drama online with his vocal opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine, drawing nationwide pushback and even irking some of his Bills teammates. One pundit is now suggesting that Beasley may be using the drama as a means to earn his release from Buffalo.
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Beasley in Hot Water
Beasley has made it clear that he does not want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and has regularly engaged in spats with people on social media who have suggested that he is putting his team at risk by avoiding it. Though Beasley has mused about stepping away from social media and keeping his thoughts to himself, he has returned numerous times and earned some often harsh criticism.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk suggests that Beasley may be trying to “goad the Bills into cutting him.” Florio pointed out that Bills head coach Sean McDermott admitted to talking to Beasley about his Twitter statements, but the All-Pro wide receiver still hasn’t backed off. Florio questioned whether Beasley may want to join another team, or possibly hold himself up as a martyr who was punished for standing up for his beliefs.
“I’m not saying Beasley actually wants to be cut and then shunned,” he wrote. “I’m only saying that his most recent antics on Twitter invite speculation that he’s possibly trying to engineer that outcome. Why else would he embrace creating a distraction for the Bills on this issue, a month after he vowed not to?”
Beasley continued to stir up drama this week, getting into a bit of a Twitter spat with teammate Jerry Hughes before the two seemed to smooth things out.
Losing Beasley would be a major blow to the Bills offense. He had a career-best season in 2020, making 82 receptions for 967 yards and four touchdowns. Beasley likely would have reached his first career 1,000-yard season had he not missed the final week of the season due to injury.
Other Reasons to Cut Beasley
There are others who have pegged Beasley as a potential cut during training camp, even outside of his social media advocacy regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News broke down the veteran players who could face the chopping block, pointing out that parting ways with Beasley would give the Bills some more cap space to make other moves. Cutting Beasley would allow the Bills to save $5.341 million against the cap in 2021, leaving what Skurski called “reasonable” dead-money hits of $2 million and $1.5 million over the next two years.
Beasley’s spot in the slot could be filled by another Bills receiver. Doug Farrar of USA Today’s Touchdown Wire listed Isaiah McKenzie above Beasley on his list of the league’s top slot receivers, noting that the versatile McKenzie could be in line to take on a bigger role in the offense next season.