The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added a veteran presence to the receiving corps on Wednesday by signing Cole Beasley to the practice squad. Beasley will help offset the Bucs' depleted receiver room with injuries to both Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee), along with Mike Evans' one-game suspension. Most recently, Beasley posted back-to-back 82-catch seasons for the Buffalo Bills (2020-21). Overall, he has played in 149 games for the Cowboys and Bills, accumulating 550 catches for 5,709 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Evans will miss the Bucs' home opener against the Packers in Week Three following an unsuccessful appeal. After suffering a hamstring injury in Week One against the Cowboys, Godwin's return timeline is unknown. In addition to Godwin, Julio Jones did not suit up against the New Orleans Saints with a knee ailment. Although they played in the contest, both Breshad Perriman and Russell Gage Jr. were listed as questionable heading into the Week Two division rivalry with hamstring and knee injuries, respectively.
Like every player currently on the practice squad, Beasley is eligible for elevation to the active roster on Sunday against Green Bay. He provides insurance and if he is bumped to the active roster, Beasley could contribute significantly from the slot, especially until Godwin makes his return.
Beasley began his career as an undrafted free agent out of SMU in 2012 with the Cowboys. He made the roster and compiled a successful career in Dallas spanning seven seasons. In 2019, he signed with the Bills as an unrestricted free agent, after growing discontent about targets. With Buffalo, Beasley became one of Josh Allen's preferred weapons, garnering Associated Press second-team All-Pro recognition in 2020 after posting 82 catches for 967 yards and four touchdowns.
Beasley lined up in the slot on 87 percent of snaps last season for the Bills, and he could elevate the Bucs' short-to-intermediate passing game. He is a high-quality, move-the-chains player with the ability to create separation over the middle of the field on routes. To alleviate pressure off of the Bucs' offensive line with a quick passing attack, Beasley could provide a spark after engendering Tom Brady's trust. The crafty 5'9 receiver is as good as it gets on running a deep crosser. Throughout his career, Beasley consistently gains yards-after-catch (YAC) off screens, slants and comebacks. Against press at the line of scrimmage, Beasley has a lethal repertoire of releases to gain leverage against defensive backs. Against zone, he exploits defenses on intermediate/underneath combination routes. As more and more defenses shy away from stacked boxes and man coverage, and move towards shallow zones, opportunities arise for slot receivers to become game-wreckers.
In the absence of Godwin and without Brady's former go-to target over the middle of the field in Rob Gronkowski, Beasley could become an offensive catalyst for Tampa Bay.