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Like many talented NFL veterans, free agent slot receiver Cole Beasley hit the marketplace this offseason looking for a better deal than what his former team, the Dallas Cowboys, were willing to offer and the man with soft hands and the ability to get open on third down landed in Buffalo of all places.
Tasked with boosting the Bills’ weak air attack – ranked second worst in the league last season – Beasley has signed a long-term deal with enough guaranteed money to play for his first new franchise in seven seasons.
The deal Beasley signed was close enough to the one the Cowboys would have offered that it’s worth looking closer at the numbers and at Beasley’s journey to Buffalo, as well as the odds and predictions of his 2019 production.
Given a Cowboy name at birth, Cole Dickson Beasley sprang to life in Houston, Texas in 1989, and the 29-year-old NFL receiver has been an athletic underdog ever since.
Despite only measuring 5-foot-8 and weighing 180-pounds, Beasley earned himself the starting quarterback job at Little Elm High School (they’ve since retired his number) and became a district co-MVP after putting up 1,570 passing yards and 12 touchdowns on top of 1,184 rushing yards and another 12 touchdowns.
Rated a two-star recruit by Rivals.com, Beasley was offered a scholarship to Southern Methodist University (SMU) where he played as a wide receiver.
Beasley ended up playing in all four of his eligible college football seasons.
From 2008 through 2011, Beasley played in 49 games at SMU and caught 255 balls for 2,959 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 11.6 yards per catch.
Before the 2012 NFL draft, Beasley, who was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, participated in SMU’s pro day and ran a 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, had a 38-inch vertical leap, a 10-foot 6-inch broad jump and bench-pressed 225-pounds 17 times.
Actually, he didn’t.
Beasley went undrafted that year, thought to be too small to be an NFL wide receiver, but was signed as a free agent by the Dallas Cowboys who have paid him a total of $15.5 million over the last seven years.
For a moment, it looked like Beasley might quit pursuing his NFL dreams when he became overwhelmed in his very first training camp and had to take personal time off.
After a life-changing talk with his father, Beasley learned how to better prioritize his work and family life and rejoined the team for seven straight years after that.
Despite that, Beasley continues a nerve-induced tradition that started when he was young that involves losing his lunch at some point before every game.
As a slot receiver, you tend to catch passes for shorter yard gains and you’re typically not who the quarterback looks for in the red zone to score touchdowns, so your numbers tend to be lower than the other starting receivers are.
Last season, Beasley caught 65 balls for 672 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 10.3 yards per reception.
Over his seven-season career with the Cowboys, Beasley averaged 467 receiving yards, 3.9 touchdowns and 10.3 yards per catch each year.
The same reason a lot of veterans are let go – money.
Beasley was a free agent who was asking for a long-term contract with at least $20 million guaranteed but the Cowboys weren’t willing (or able) to give him what he felt he was worth.
The Cowboys couldn’t give him what he wanted because most of their money dedicated to improving the offense is now tied up in having to renegotiate with their three play-making stars, quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliot and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Buffalo Bills and Beasley have agreed to a four-year, $29 million contract with $10.7 million guaranteed at signing and $14.4 guaranteed in total.
Beasley will receive an average salary of $7.25 million per season now, a significant pay pump from what he received in Dallas.
It won’t be until the year 2023 when Beasley is about 34-years old that he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
The Bills’ passing offense was ranked 31st last season, and there were plenty of reasons for that – quarterback Josh Allen was a rookie, the offensive line was weak and Allen had no real receiving targets to shoot for.
Buffalo has signed five offensive lineman in the offseason and on top of Beasley have snagged two other receivers, including John Brown from the Baltimore Ravens.
Beasley will do for Buffalo what he did in Dallas, which is serve as a quick outlet for Allen, especially with Beasley’s uncanny ability to shake free of defenders and get open on third downs.
They’ve lost a terrific slot receiver, one that Prescott has used as an emergency ‘get out of being sacked’ card many a time.
But with the return to the Cowboys of future Hall-of-Fame tight end Jason Witten to the roster, the job of being the quick out for Prescott will most likely switch over to him.
To fill the hole left by Beasley’s departure, the Cowboys signed receiver Randall Cobb, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, to a one-year deal worth $5 million.
Beasley’s nickname Young 2% Milk came from his SMU roommate, cornerback Sterling Moore, who posted to Instagram a training drill video where Beasley ends up beating him, and in the caption he calls Beasley, “Young 2% Milk.”
As for the sauce, as Beasley would say, it’s just the sauce, man, and it’s become part of his touchdown celebration as he explains in this Tweet:
Asked Cole Beasley about his TD celebration: “Poor the sauce on my hand and put it on the shoes. Saucy feet, man.” pic.twitter.com/CxYtzVkbDj
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 18, 2016
Remember, as a slot man, Beasley might not have the same level of production as his deep-threat receiver counterparts do, who tend to catch the longer balls and score more of the touchdowns.
However on the Bills next season those are Zay Jones and John Brown, who did not have amazingly productive 2018s, with Jones catching 56 balls for 652 yards and 7 touchdowns for the Bills and Brown catching 42 balls for 715 yards and 5 touchdowns for the Ravens.
Compare that to Beasley’s 2018 production, when he caught 65 passes for 672 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Beasley’s 2018 output for the Bills will depend on the chemistry he builds with Allen so keep an eye on their preseason journey to get an idea of how that is developing.
You want to measure a wide receiver, you take a look at the amount of total yards he has caught for and how many touchdowns that has led to.
There’s no telling how often he and Allen will hook up, but Beasley would have to have an above average season for the overs to pay off.
As we like to say: never bet what you can’t afford to lose and good luck – here are the current Beasley odds listed for 2019:
Caveat: Beasley must play in game one for action to commence.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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