When Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane wheels and deals, it usually ends in rave reviews. In his year and some change overseeing the Bills personnel decisions, Beane has been a mastermind at regularly flipping players who aren’t buying in for ready-now talent, draft picks or some combination of the two.
But Beane’s most recent move – a trade that netted Buffalo former first-round pick, wide receiver Corey Coleman from Cleveland in exchange for a 2020 seventh-round pick – has been met with mixed reviews thus far. Critics seem perhaps too caught up in the baggage Coleman brings than the actual logistics of the deal itself.
Truth is though, Beane’s latest maneuver deserves just as much praise as his previous ones.
There’s no beating around the bush: Buffalo began training camp with what many pundits consider the league’s worst wide receiving corps. And at this point in the year, there isn’t really a quick fix for any position.
The Bills needed help at wide receiver, badly. Anquan Boldin ain’t waiting to be signed this year, and even if was, everyone saw how that went. So Beane worked his magic found a trade partner in the Browns and found something of value on the clearance rack.
That said, there are two sides to every trade. And while Buffalo is thrilled to get Coleman at a discounted price, there’s a reason why he was available in the first place. It starts with his unfortunate injury history. Each of the 24-year-old’s first two seasons in the NFL has come with a broken bone in his right hand. As a result, Coleman has missed 13 games over the last two years. If the best ability is availability Coleman has been largely unavailable.
If that were all of his only issues, he would probably still be a Brown. However, Coleman’s early career has been haunted by a tendency to drop passes as well, and not just the shake it off and move on sort of drops. The most dilapidating kind of drops.
In a Week 12 meeting with the Bengals last year, Coleman had a step on his defender running a 30-yard post route to the end zone only to have one of rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer’s best passes of the season ricocheted off his hands and wipe out a touchdown. Coleman also became the poster child for the Browns infamous 0-16 season after dropping a key fourth-down pass during the team’s last drive of Week 17. Had he caught it, Cleveland would have had a first-and-goal from the nine, down 28-24 to Pittsburgh. That one stung.
When your catch rate in two seasons is around 42-percent, it’s easy to see the Browns were selling Coleman so low. Those numbers also make it easy question why the Bills made an effort to acquire him or how he makes them better.
No, Coleman doesn’t come to Western New York without flaws. But even if you think the Baylor product is worthless, it’s impossible to hate this trade.
First and foremost Buffalo addressed their need for a burner at receiver. That in of itself is a win, without even mentioning the fact that they gave up pennies on the dollar to acquire Coleman, in comparison to what the Browns wasted on him. Cleveland didn’t just use the No. 15 overall pick on Coleman. That pick came as part of the compensation they received for trading out of the No. 2 spot that year. So essentially, the Browns passed on Carson Wentz and wasted a first-round pick on a player they then turned into a seventh-round pick in 2020. And we’re supposed to believe the Bills look silly for this deal?
Buffalo also add a guy who is far too young to deem a bust, and he’s under team control for another three years, should they choose to exercise the fifth-year option in his rookie contract. A change of scenery could be good for Colmena, especially if he comes in with a chip on his shoulder. Wouldn’t you, if the team that thought you were worth a first-round pick gave up on you and flipped you for peanuts? And on this team, where the wide receiver talent is scarce, Coleman will have a chance to compete.
There’s no losing in this situation for the Bills. If things don’t work out with Coleman, oh well, all you lose is a chance to pick a training camp body in 2020. But if he somehow flourishes, now you just added a first-round caliber talent for next to nothing.
Brandon Beane has done it again. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.