BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills granted veteran receiver Cole Beasley permission to seek a trade, a person familiar with the discussions confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Bills were not going to formally announce the news. NFL.com first reported the development earlier in the day by citing general manager Brandon Beane saying Beasley’s camp approached the Bills seeking permission to talk to other teams.
Beasley, who turns 33 next month, has one year left on the four-year contract he signed in joining Buffalo in free agency in 2019 after spending his first seven NFL seasons in Dallas.
The Bills are open to Beasley returning if he can’t orchestrate a trade. Buffalo already stands to lose receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who completed a one-year deal and hasn’t determined whether he’ll retire after 12 NFL seasons.
Beasley remained productive as Buffalo’s slot receiver, and yet he became an off-the-field distraction for being one of the league’s most vocal anti-vaccination critics last summer.
In June, Beasley threatened to retire, questioning the NFL and NFLPA jointly adopting rules requiring unvaccinated players to stay clear of people. He then opened training camp in late July questioning the league’s COVID-19 policies. After refusing to take questions about his stance he released a rap song in which he said there “ain’t a vaccination” for him.
Beasley continued his crusade on social media at times and even criticized Bills fans for booing him during home games, before deleting his social media accounts in November.
Though he finished the season with a career-best-matching 82 catches for a second consecutive year, Beasley’s production dropped from 967 yards receiving and four touchdowns in 2021 to 693 yards and one TD.
He also missed a key game, a 33-21 win over AFC East rival New England on Dec. 26, after being placed on the COVID-19 list.
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