Vocal Wide Receiver an Option for Buccaneers: Analysis

Todd Bowles

Getty Todd Bowles and the Buccaneers still have a need for a reliable third wide receiver amid injuries.

Veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley could get a second chance to join a Tom Brady-led team again this year after vocally passing on the chance in 2019.

A reliable receiver throughout his career, Beasley could give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a boost in the receiving corps with Chris Godwin and Russell Gage still injured. The Bucs have a significant drop off in experience and talent after Mike Evans without Godwin and Gage on the field.

After starting his career strong in Dallas, Beasley took heat in 2019 when he chose the Buffalo Bills over the New England Patriots, led by Brady at the time. A fan called out Beasley because of the Patriots’ dynasty at the time, and Beasley retorted the fan’s tweet.

“Your mistake is assuming the Patriots are gonna win every year,” Beasley wrote.

Beasley voiced another stance in 2021 regarding the COVID vaccines, which overshadowed his 82-catch, 693-yards season with the Bills last year in the media. He only missed one game due to COVID protocols. The NFL notably dropped its COVID protocols for players in March this year.

Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox recognizes Beasley as a significant loss for the Bills if a team such as the Bucs snatches him up. The Bills released Beasley in March after he asked for a trade.

Beasley has 550 receptions, 5,709 yards, and 34 touchdowns in his career. That includes 65 or more receptions and more than 670 yards in each of the past four seasons. He also has four or more touchdowns in two of the past three seasons.

He also moves the chains consistently with a career average of 1.04 yards per reception. His percentage of first down grabs on third and fourth down ranked second behind Evans among all NFL receivers since 2019 per Nate Tice of The Athletic.

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Bucs Thin on Touchdown Threats After Evans

Beyond Evans, no other healthy Bucs receiver has produced numbers anywhere close to Beasley’s. Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Cyril Grayson, and Jaelon Darden haven’t ever caught more than three touchdowns in a season. Breshad Perriman went above three touchdowns only once in 2019 with the Bucs.

Tampa Bay getting to full strength at wide receiver could take time this fall. Godwin, who tore his ACL, may not return until later in the season. Gage hasn’t practiced yet with the Bucs due to an undisclosed injury.

In addition, the Bucs have little experience at tight end with Rob Gronkowski’s plans up in the air. Cameron Brate can make plays in the passing game, but there’s almost no NFL experience after Brate on the depth chart. Codey McElroy has two games of experience, and the rest of the Bucs tight ends are rookies.

Worth the Cost?

Beasley could fill potentially a big void in the passing game early in the 2022 season as the Bucs only have Evans and Brate as serious touchdown pass threats, based on 2021 stats. While Beasley only caught a touchdown in 2021, he caught at least four touchdowns in six of the past eight seasons.

Paying Beasley may not come easy. He made $7.25 million annually in Buffalo per Spotrac. The Bucs have $10.5 million in salary cap space remaining per Spotrac, and Gronkowski could take a chunk of that if he returns.