Buffalo Bills grant WR Cole Beasley permission to seek trade

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have granted wide receiver Cole Beasley permission to seek a trade, general manager Brandon Beane confirmed to ESPN.

Beasley's camp first approached the Bills about the possible move, and the team agreed to allow the slot receiver to investigate other options. Finding a solution for his impact on the salary cap seemed inevitable as he is currently set to account for $7.6 million in cap space on the final year of a four-year, $29 million contract.

Releasing or trading Beasley would save the Bills $6.1 million in cap space with $1.5 million remaining in dead cap. Buffalo currently has about $1 million in cap space with moves expected in the near future.

"I haven't spoken to Cole personally or anything like that. We'll just take it day by day," Beane said Tuesday. "Obviously, we're going to have some tough decisions to make across the roster, again, whether they're straight cuts, restructures, extensions, we're going to look at a lot of areas with a lot of these guys as we move forward."

Following the conclusion of the season, Beane said that he "anticipated" Beasley returning in 2022.

Beasley, 32, finished 2021 with the same number of receptions as the year prior (82) but 274 fewer receiving yards. He only had one receiving touchdown, his fewest in a season since 2012 (zero).

He missed one game during the year after testing positive for COVID-19 while being unvaccinated. Beasley has been vocal on social media about his thoughts on the NFL/NFLPA's COVID-19 policies, including threatening to retire. During the season, he decided to delete his Twitter account after labeling it as a distraction. ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Beasley was fined multiple time for COVID-19 protocol violations.

Wide receiver is one of the Bills' positions of need this offseason with Isaiah McKenzie scheduled to become a free agent this month. Stefon Diggs currently has the biggest cap hit on the roster for 2022 -- accounting for $17.9 million -- and is a candidate to receive a contract extension.

"[Diggs' side has] to want to do it, we have to want to do it," Beane said. "You can also have talks and nothing ever get done because they have a value, and we have a value. Without getting into any specifics, that's probably the best way to answer."

The Bills have not drafted a wide receiver in the first round since selecting Sammy Watkins fourth overall in 2014.