Patriots have opportunity to make Cole Beasley regret his FA decision

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 15: Cole Beasley #10 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball during their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 15: Cole Beasley #10 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball during their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Wide receiver Cole Beasley surprised many when he chose the Buffalo Bills over the New England Patriots in free agency… will he regret it on Sunday?

Cole Beasley has been in the NFL long enough to make his own decisions.

An undrafted free agent coming out of SMU back in 2012, Beasley felt as if the odds were stacked against him from the very outset of his professional football career. He steadily increased his role with the Dallas Cowboys for four straight years, building on his receiving yardage total every season between 2012 and 2016.

Even as his statistics regressed a bit in his final two seasons with the ‘Boys, it became clear to most NFL observers that Beasley was both an exceptional route-runner as well as a capable starting slot receiver in today’s pass-happy league. So with his contract expiring in the spring of 2019, Beasley entertained all manner of suitors in free agency.

His final choice reportedly came down to the Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills, and the New England Patriots. Many assumed it was almost a given that he’d either re-sign with Dallas or go to New England, given the fact that the Pats were fresh off winning their third Super Bowl title in the past five years.

Instead, the Texas native shocked the football world by inking a four-year, $29 million contract to become a Bill. Beasley immediately settled in as Buffalo’s Y-receiver, and so far he’s actually had a nice season for his new team: tallying 17 catches on 23 targets for 171 yards through three games – though he has yet to find the end zone.

So did Beasley make the right choice in spurning the Super Bowl champs for the Bills?

Not according to everyone.

As NESN’s Logan Mullen pointed out back in March, Beasley came under fire by a Twitter user (who coincidentally happened to be a Cowboys fan) for passing up what the user referred to as “a guaranteed ring” with New England to instead sign with Buffalo. Beasley responded, “Your mistake is assuming the patriots are gonna win every year.”

He also then took a Kansas City radio station host to task on Twitter as well. The host suggested that Beasley was an example of a professional athlete whose priorities were different than simply trying to win a championship. Beasley’s response?

Six months later, Beasley is still having to answer questions on why he chose to sign with New England’s “little brother” instead of suiting up for the league’s preeminent franchise. Per’s Matt Parino, Beasley came across as downright “apathetic” when he was asked about the Pats’ recent dominance over the Bills.

“I wasn’t here. I don’t care,” Beasley told reporters, per Parino. “I played for a different team and didn’t play the Pats last year. I don’t know anything about what they were. All I can do is watch them this week. You know about their success. They’ve had a lot of success over the past couple of years. They’re a good football team so we gotta be on our A-game just like we have to be any other week.”

In some ways, Beasley should be commended for his remarks. He’s refusing to show fear in the face of his upcoming opponent – despite the fact that opponent has yet to allow a defensive touchdown this season – and he’s obviously confident without being cocky or providing any ill-advised bulletin-board material ahead of a huge game.

And yet, to suggest that he doesn’t “know anything about what they were” comes across a bit far-fetched.

Beasley obviously knows plenty about what the Pats were and are, being a member of the National Football League for going on eight years now. On top of that, he seriously considered signing with New England during the offseason, so he probably knows a lot more about the Patriots from his research this past spring than most other players from other teams do.

Maybe Beasley’s just sick and tired of hearing about the Patriots at this point. On some level, you have to empathize with a guy who made his choice and who now wants to stop talking about all the other choices he could have made, including signing with the team everyone thought he should have signed with.

The easiest way to shut everyone up is by letting his play do the talking on Sunday.

If Beasley becomes the first player to score on New England’s ferocious defense this season, that will go a long way toward punctuating his statements this week. Even if he remains touchdown-less on the season, he could still have a big game against the Patriots in the receptions and receiving yards categories – though he should have tough sledding going up against ProFootballFocus’ top-ranked cornerback in New England’s Jonathan Jones (grade courtesy of Gordon McGuinness).

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Unfortunately for Beasley though, he probably needs some kind of monster performance – plus a Buffalo win – to make all the second-guessing on his free agency choice go away. Even if he goes off Sunday afternoon and exposes the New England D, if the Patriots ultimately come away with the win and remain undefeated, the narrative will remain very much the same.

Like it or not, Beasley may be tied to the Patriots a lot longer than he’d like to be, if only through the eyes of the media and fans… not that he seems to care too much, at least.