With their receiving corps potentially depleted by injuries and a one-game suspension of Mike Evans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added an experienced and productive pass-catcher to the mix Wednesday, signing Cole Beasley to the practice squad. Beasley was one of two new players added to that 16-man unit, joining offensive tackle Justin Skule.
The Buccaneers created room on the practice squad for the newcomers with an additional round of roster moves on Wednesday.
Beasley (5-8, 174) most recently posted back-to-back 82-catch seasons for the Buffalo Bills in 2020-21. His 164 receptions in that span ranked 12th among all NFL players. In all, Beasley has played in 149 games with 50 starts for the Cowboys and Bills, producing 550 catches for 5,709 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Barring a successful appeal of his suspension by the NFL, Evans will miss the Buccaneers' Week Three game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Chris Godwin is also a significant question mark after missing last Sunday's game in New Orleans with a hamstring injury, and Julio Jones also sat out that contest with a knee ailment. In addition, Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman played against the Saints despite being questionable for the contest with hamstring and knee issues, respectively.
Like all players on the practice squad, Beasley is eligible to be elevated to the active roster on game day up to three times. Last week, the Buccaneers elevated rookie wide receiver Kaylon Geiger, who played briefly against the Saints. Tampa Bay also has an open spot on the 53-man roster while Evans is suspended.
Beasley began his career as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys out of SMU in 2012. He made the active roster as a rookie and played seven seasons in Dallas, peaking at 75 catches for 833 yards and five touchdowns in 2016. In 2019, he signed with Buffalo as an unrestricted free agent and became one of Josh Allen's favorite targets, with an average of 73 receptions per season over three years. Beasley was named an Associated Press second-team All-Pro in 2020 after hauling in 82 passes for 967 yards and four touchdowns.
If Beasley is added to the active roster for Sunday's game or any subsequent contests he would give the Buccaneers a valuable weapon out of the slot, particularly if Godwin remains out. Last season, Beasley lined up in the slot on 87% of his snaps and tallied 89% of his receiving yards from that starting point. He was also in the slot for 87% of his snaps in 2020 and had 98% of his yards from that spot.
Skule (6-6, 315) originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt by the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. He saw extensive action in his first two seasons in San Francisco, appearing in 31 games with 12 starts. Skule suffered a torn ACL in a June practice last year and spent all of the 2021 season on injured reserve. He was released in this year's final round of cuts in August. Skule started 40 games during his collegiate career.