Steelers Urged to Sign Polarizing Ex-Bills WR to Replace JuJu Smith-Schuster

Cole Beasley Bills

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images Cole Beasley of the Buffalo Bills scores a touchdown against Washington on November 3, 2019.

Late last week former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, making him the second of three Pittsburgh receivers to leave in free agency within a 24 hour period. The Steelers immediately addressed the loss of wide receiver/kick returner Ray-Ray McCloud by signing former Patriots All-Pro Gunner Olszewski to a two-year contract. But there are still two spots to fill in Pittsburgh’s wide receiver room, which helps explain why Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report is recommending that the Steelers sign Cole Beasley. The former Dallas and Buffalo wideout became available when he was released on March 17, as per WIVB-TV (Buffalo) just weeks after he was given permission to seek a trade.

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Mitch Trubisky Was With Beasley in Buffalo Last Season

“Beasley was a 900-yard receiver for Buffalo two years ago, and while he lost some reps to (former Steelers third-round pick) Emmanuel Sanders last season, he was still quite productive. He finished 2021 with 82 receptions, 693 yards and a touchdown,” notes Knox.

As an “inside-outside pass-catcher,” Beasley could help fill the void left by Smith-Schuster, adds Knox. “He could also help ease new quarterback Mitchell Trubisky into the lineup…. While Trubisky only played 33 offensive snaps in 2021, he likely became quite familiar with Beasley on the practice field.”

If the Steelers do sign Beasley, they would be getting a (soon-to-be) 33-year-old receiver who has played in 149 games (50 starts) across seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and three with the Bills, as per Pro Football Reference. He has 550 career receptions for 5,709 yards and 34 touchdown catches, with two of his three best seasons coming with the Bills in 2019 & 2020. His career high in yards (967) came in 2020 and his career high in touchdown catches (six) came in 2019.


Cole Beasley’s ‘Sometimes Controversial’ 3-Year Run in Buffalo

They would also be getting an NFL veteran who has been a “distraction” in recent years, owing to his comments and social media posts about the COVID-19 vaccine and the NFL’s rules relating to COVID-19. That’s why WIVB-TV in Buffalo labeled him as “sometimes controversial” in the above referenced article covering his release.

As such, many NFL fans have disdain for Beasley, with this tweet being a representative example of the sentiment surrounding him.

On the other hand, Beasley is also popular among Bills fans for helping turn them into a Super Bowl contender.

“Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I will always have nothing but love for Cole Beasley and what he brought to the Buffalo Bills,” concluded one Buffalo fan in the wake of his divorce from the Bills.

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Meanwhile, in addition to finding a replacement for JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers have to find a receiver to take the place of former second-round pick James Washington, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, allowing the former Oklahoma State product to return to his home state.


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