Bills Sign Former Cardinals WR Not Named DeAndre Hopkins

Marcell Ateman

Getty Former Raiders receiver Marcell Ateman plays at Empower Field at Mile High on December 29, 2019.

While the Buffalo Bills have long been linked to former Arizona Cardinals star DeAndre Hopkins, who’s officially a free agent after the team released him last week, they swerved to sign a different wide receiver from the NFC West franchise.

On Thursday, June 1, the Bills announced they were bringing in Marcell Ateman, whose most recent stint in the NFL was with the Cardinals. After failing to make the regular season roster, the 28-year-old entered the 2022 XFL Draft, where he was selected as the No. 2 overall pick by the St. Louis Battlehawks, per Yardbarker.

In seven game appearances with the Battlehawks, Ateman recorded 19 catches for 259 yards, per NBC Sports.

Ateman started out his NFL career with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders after the team selected the Oklahoma State alum in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. During his four-year tenure with the Raiders, Ateman appeared in 19 games, recording a total of 20 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown.

A Bills fan tweeted in response to the news, “Wrong Cardinals WR,” while a Browns fan quipped, “The only former Cardinals receiver that they’ll be signing.”

While the Bills remain one of Hopkins’ top preferred destinations, The Athletic‘s Tim Graham reported on Thursday that it’s a “long shot” for Buffalo to sign the five-time Pro Bowler. “Three executives from around the NFL, some with direct knowledge of what the free-agent receiver wants in his next contract,” told the outlet that “the Bills simply don’t have enough salary-cap room to accommodate Hopkins’ terms.”

After adding right tackle Brandon Shell earlier this week, the Bills have approximately $1.4 million in cap space, per

Marcell Ateman Looks to Have ‘Beat Out’ Former Dolphins WR Preston Williams for a Roster Spot

Preston Williams

GettyFormer Dolphins receiver Preston Williams runs with the ball against the Bills at New Era Field on October 20, 2019.

New York Upstate‘s Ryan Talbot reported on Wednesday that the Bills invited two 6-foot-4 wide receivers to work out, Ateman and Preston Williams.

While Williams appeared in one game with the Carolina Panthers last year, the undrafted receiver out of Colorado State spent the first three seasons of his NFL career playing with one of the Miami Dolphins. In 24 game appearance with the Dolphins, Williams recorded 56 catches for 787 yards and seven touchdowns. The team released him on May 18.

Ateman must’ve really impressed the Bills on Thursday because he was the only player to receive a contract after the work out. Sports Illustrated‘s Zach Dimmit wrote, “It remains to be seen if he ‘beat out’ Williams for a roster spot. But if he did, it’s all the more impressive considering what Williams has done to both the Bills and other opposing defenses in the past.”

One of Williams ‘most impressive games came against Buffalo in October 2019, when the 26-year-old recorded six catches for 82 yards during Miami’s 31-21 win.

Dimmitt noted, “The issue with [Williams] has been the ability to stay on the field, as he’s played in just eight games for each season he’s been in the league.

“Ateman, on the other hand, has started just six of 19 games in his career. But despite the fact he hasn’t had an impact on an NFL roster during the past few seasons, the Bills must’ve saw something they liked. Ateman will now look to prove the team right by earning his way onto the 53-man roster for Week 1.”

The Bills Cut WR Braydon Johnson to Facilitate the Move

Braydon Johnson

GettyBraydon Johnson #8 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys attempts to catch a long pass against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 26, 2022.

In order to make room for the new addition on the 90-man roster, the Bills announced they were releasing Braydon Johnson, who like Ateman, was an undrafted wide receiver out of Oklahoma State.

The Bills announced they were signing Johnson, along with six other undrafted free agents, on May 12. The speedy wide receiver, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4, per SI’s Draft profile, spent five seasons with the Cowboys.

During his final year, Johnson made 10 starts during which he recorded 32 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills website reported that the 6-foot, 200-pounder made seven catches that gained at least 40 yards, the sixth-most in the FBS in 2022.

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