Since joining the Buffalo Bills in March of 2019, wide receiver Cole Beasley was a huge factor in their offense. Beasley was a key piece in the ascension of quarterback Josh Allen to superstar status. He quickly became his safety valve out of the slot and one of the first reliable receivers in his early career. After a weird season last year where it seemed like Beasley was being used less, the two sides parted ways this past off-season. The Bills went out and signed slot receiver Jamison Crowder to a 1-year deal worth up to $4 million, to help fill the void in the slot. Is it possible that Crowder not only fills the void but also provides an upgrade?
Beasley’s Buffalo Bills’ Numbers
Beasley stepped in and upgraded the Bills’ receiving core right away. Over his three seasons in Buffalo, he made numerous clutch catches and helped Allen convert plenty of long third downs. In his Bills’ career, Beasley posted 231 catches, for 2,438 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his first season in Buffalo, Beasley posted a career high in targets with 105, touchdowns with six, and average yards per catch with 11.6. He would follow that up in year two with a new career high in targets with 107, catches with 82, receiving yards with 967, and receiving yards per game with 64.5. Although it seemed at times like he was phased out of the offense last season; Beasley actually matched his career high in catches with 82. While also even seeing the most targets of his career with 112. Since 2019, Beasley is 16th in the entire league in receptions (231), as the number two/three option in the Bills passing attack.
Crowder vs Beasley
Jamison Crowder joined the Jets in 2019, which was the same year Beasley joined the Bills. In his three years with them, Crowder posted 188 catches, for 1,979 yards, and 14 touchdowns in 40 games. All whilst dealing with a bad coaching staff, and relatively bad quarterback play. While Beasley has the upper hand in the statistics category, it is fair to realize he had one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing to him. Crowder, however, will only be 29 years old heading into this season, while Beasley will be 33.
The Bills were one of the worst teams in the league when it came to yards after catch last season. Crowder has a career average of 5.3 yards per catch, which the Bills could definitely use. In three seasons with Buffalo, Cole Beasley had YAC/per-reception averages of 4.9, 4.3, and 3.7. Compared to Crowder’s in the same time frame at 4.6, 5.5, and 3.5. Crowder is a good route runner, but Beasley is a step above in that category. He provides more speed and shiftiness than Beasley and is a threat to do damage with the ball in his hands. Crowder will also have to stay healthy; Beasley battled through multiple injuries and showed his toughness and grit to always be available for the Bills.
Crowder in the Bills’ Receiver Room
Crowder will be joining a Buffalo Bills’ receiving core headlined by All-Pro Stefon Diggs and rising star Gabriel Davis. The Bills also brought back Cole Beasley’s backup, and gadget player, Isaiah McKenzie, on a two-year deal. McKenzie proved last year that he is capable of a large workload from the slot and provides an injection of speed to the offense. Many presumed McKenzie to be the starter after the release of Beasley and he is not going to cede the role to Crowder without a fight. Although Crowder has the track record and experience; there should be a nice training camp battle between the two. The Bills also just drafted Khalil Shakir, who projects as a slot receiver and there is a lot of excitement and buzz around his long-term potential. Chad Reuter even believes Shakir will make a solid impact this season. It will be interesting to see how things shake out this summer at Saint John Fisher College.