The Buffalo Bills announced they were bringing back wide receiver Cole Beasley on Tuesday, December 13, a move which came as a surprise considering the 33-year-old had announced his retirement from the NFL back in October, and because the team had just brought in the league’s most sought-after free agent, Odell Beckham Jr., for a visit.
While Bills quarterback Josh Allen is publicly campaigning for Beckham to choose Buffalo, there’s a huge question as to whether that’s even on the table after signing Beasley, especially since Buffalo brought back another former wide receiver, John Brown, a few weeks ago.
On Wednesday, December 14, the Bills’ general manager broke his silence about OBJ’s free agency visit two weeks ago and said there’s still a possibility that the three-time Pro Bowler ultimately lands in Orchard Park.
“We haven’t closed any doors,” Brandon Beane said of Beckham. “We had a good visit with him. And that’s probably the extent of it. Signing Cole to the practice squad doesn’t mean we would rule anything out. Again, we’re just kind of going to move forward with the guys we got right now, though.”
Earlier this week, Bills head coach Sean McDermott spoke out about the major red flag concerning Beckham — his health, and if he worked out with the team during his visit.
“No, we didn’t do that,” he said. “We didn’t feel like it was necessary. We feel like we got a pretty good feel for where he is in terms of his rehab process.” As for whether McDermott feels any hesitancy about taking a risk on an injured veteran who hasn’t played in nearly a year, “There’s always a little bit of a projection, right? But that’s where you put your faith and trust in the doctors, and then individually in the player. He’s come back from significant injuries, so once we get that far, I’ll put my faith and trust in the medical team.”
ESPN‘s Jeremy Fowler released a report on Wednesday that seems to line up with the moves Buffalo is making — finding a player that can contribute right away while still hoping to land Beckham in the future. The receiver said himself that he didn’t “see the point” of playing during the 2022 regular season, which many analysts perceive as him hiding the fact that he wouldn’t physically be able to.
Fowler wrote, “Several NFL teams believe Odell Beckham Jr. is leaning toward sitting out the entire 2022 regular season and postseason and signing with his new team at the start of free agency in March… Executives whose teams have done their homework on Beckham expect him to wait because, as one put it, ‘he’ll be the prize’ of the free agent receiver class. Beckham isn’t expected to be ready to play football until the playoffs, and joining a new team and offense for a playoff run comes with injury risk. Leaguewide attrition at the position could change the outlook and prompt a team to sign Beckham to a strong offer this year.”
While the Dallas Cowboys signed T.Y. Hilton following Beckham’s visit, and the Bills signed Beasley, “Those moves wouldn’t preclude them from signing another receiver. It’s just that the tea leaves are telling teams that Beckham might not be a realistic option this year.”
Beane Revealed Beasley Reached Out to the Bills First
Because the Bills were obviously on the hunt to add depth at receiver, it was largely assumed that Buffalo reached out to Beasley to gauge his interest in a return. However, according to Beane, it was the guy who appeared in two games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before retiring who reached out first.
“Beasley reached [out] a couple [of] weeks ago, right after Thanksgiving,” Beane said, as tweeted by WGR 550‘s Sal Capaccio. “Said he was open to playing again and asked if door was closed. Said ‘I’m interested if you’re interested.'”
Buffalo News analyst Mark Gaughan added, “Late last week, Beane called Cole” and said that he’d have to be open to starting out on the practice squad.
As for the continuous controversy and drama surrounding Beasley, Beane said, “No one is perfect. Deep in his heart, Cole is a good person. A healthy respect on both sides. Why you never close the door.” Despite his recent disparaging comments about the team, city and its fans following his departure, Beasley remains a very popular and beloved person in the Bills locker room.
Allen Approved Bringing Beasley Back
While Allen has made it clear that he’d love to have Beckham as his teammate, the superstar quarterback also gave his nod of approval to bring Beasley back. Beane said on Wednesday that he checked in with Allen before officially making an offer to Beasley.
“Josh actually came up to me at some point and said, ‘You talked to Cole?’ And I was like, Yeah I did,'” Beane said, per WIVB. “And he said, ‘what are you thinking?’ And I said, ‘I’m still thinking.’ It’s not just as simple as bringing Cole back, I gotta figure out the roster piece here as well. I said, ‘How well do you think he’ll fit in our room?’ Josh, he felt like everything would be great if we did make the move.”