Interesting Week for Bills’ Receivers

Photo of WR Corey Coleman from USATODAY.com and sportsnaut.com.

The Bills wide receiving corps has been an area of discussion all summer. As arguably the weakest group in the league, fans have long clamored for reinforcements and on Sunday evening, they finally got their wish.

Second-year general manager, Brandon Beane bolstered his already impressive trade resume when he acquired Corey Coleman (a former first-round pick) from the Cleveland Browns for a seventh-round selection in 2020. This trade marks the second time the two clubs have reached an agreement this offseason (Tyrod Taylor).

In 2016 the Browns traded down from the second overall pick (a move that fans in Cleveland continue to lament, and rightfully so) all the way down to 15th overall when they selected the Baylor product as the first receiver off the board. After two tumultuous campaigns in the Dog Pound, both of which were cut short by injury, Coleman had worn out his welcome.

Despite his early struggles, it’s odd to see a team take what are essentially table scraps for a player who is just two years removed from being a first-round pick. According to multiple sources on Twitter, Coleman had been on Beane’s radar for some time.

It’s tough not to like the move if you’re a Bills fan. Buffalo essentially parted with a throw-away pick in exchange for a guy who could very well end up reaching his full potential if he stays healthy. Given rookie signal-caller, Josh Allen’s penchant for tossing the long-ball, a fleet-footed target like Coleman could be an excellent weapon in his arsenal.

Benjamin’s Bizarre Soundbite

Photo of WR Kelvin Benjamin from buffalonews.com.

In less exciting news, de-facto number one receiver, Kelvin Benjamin made waves this week in a conversation with Tim Graham of The Athletic. The veteran wideout had some less than complimentary things to say about his former quarterback in Carolina, Cam Newton.

“If you would’ve put me with any other quarterback, let’s be real, you know what I’m saying? Any other accurate quarterback like (Aaron) Rodgers or Eli Manning or Big Ben (Roethlisberger) — anybody! — quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn’t in that position.”

Pretty bizarre stuff considering the timing of the whole ordeal. It’s not like Benjamin was dealt recently. With the emphasis the Bills new regime has put on handling things the right way and going about their business, it came as no surprise that Sean McDermott did not approve of his top receiver’s soundbite.

“There’s a time and a place for things like that; this was not one of them,” said McDermott. “We have a lot of respect for our opponents, No. 1, and everyone in the league. I’ve spoken with Kelvin, and that’s not how I want us to handle things like that. We’ll move forward as a team, and hopefully, we’ve already done that.”

What’s most alarming about Benjamin’s commentary is how it balances in comparison to the Bills’ current situation under center. At this point, they certainly don’t have anyone of Newton’s caliber in the QB room. Far from it.

For a rookie like Josh Allen, the last thing he needs to worry about is his best receiving target coming after him after a poor performance, especially considering how much he needs to grow before he’s anywhere near the player Manning, Roethlisberger or Rodgers are.

Benjamin’s former teammate, Greg Olsen got involved in the action, urging him to focus on his own team, though he did go on to say that he enjoyed having him around during his time in Carolina.

Owens In the Hall

Photo of Terrell Owens from buffalonews.com.

On Thursday, Terrell Owens became the latest former-Bill to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Obviously, he did most of his damage during stints with the San Fransisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, but the 15-year veteran did give a quick mention about his time in Western New York during his induction speech stating that he “enjoyed his time as a Buffalo Bill.”

During his illustrious career, Owens caught 1,078 passes for nearly 16,000 yards, ranking him in the top-10 all-time in both categories. Though he did make some waves regarding his feelings on the selection committee (and the fact that he did not give his speech in Canton for whatever reason), there is no question that his induction is well-earned.

While only 55 of his receptions came in a Bills uniform, he was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise brutal 2009 season in Buffalo. As a player who was often vocal and truculent throughout his career, he went about his business and always displayed a professional demeanor with the Bills. Though he never quite reached his pledge of 10 touchdowns and 1,000 yards that season, it was tough not to enjoy having an NFL icon for even a short time.

You have to wonder if he still has that key to the city.

Editor’s babble: Brandon Beane has already established himself as quite the wheeler-dealer since assuming the general manager’s position with the Bills. This move getting Corey Coleman in a trade with the Browns underscores how thorough he is in his attempt to continually improve the roster. Thanks as always to Anthony Sciandra for his contributions to our blog. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @SciandraSports. 

About Anthony Sciandra

I'm a passionate Buffalo sports fan, former amateur pugilist, and UB alum. Born and raised in Western New York.

6 Replies to “Interesting Week for Bills’ Receivers”

  1. We’ll see if Coleman sticks but I am not hopeful. His catch percentage was absolutely dreadful-
    Targeted 58 times in 2017 for 23 receptions- a catch percentage of 39.7%.
    As mentioned he hasn’t been able to stay healthy either- playing in only 19 games over 2 seasons.
    The Bills thankfully gave up little to get him, and if nothing else he could be a credible deep threat and maybe receive some double coverage.
    Expectations are duly tempered.

  2. Thanks for the article Anthony!

    I like the move for Coleman, it’s a low risk, high reward move. I also liked the trade for Benjamin. Hopefully Daboll will use him effectively as he’s a big WR, who can box out CB’s and is a red zone threat.

    In regards to T.O.’s time with the Bills, I remember being excited about the possibility of him and Lee Evans together as the Bills rarely had a good one-two punch at WR throughout the 2000’s (Moulds and Price were the last two). Unfortunately, Evans declined big time that year and the rest of the team was not that great. I would have liked to seen T.O. stay longer with the Bills, but Cooter [Chan Gailey] decided to go with the young guys the next year.

    Every year, there’s a player or two who looks great in OTA’s and minicamp, but disappears when the pads come on in training camp. This year’s winner appears to be Robert Foster.

  3. I have to admit I have reservations regarding Benjamin & now Coleman. Both are starting to include “Injured” in their descriptions more than “Accomplishments.”
    Perhaps that will change.

  4. “His catch percentage was absolutely dreadful-
    Targeted 58 times in 2017 for 23 receptions- a catch percentage of 39.7%.”

    Meaningless stat if the target is grossly off…a target doesn’t equal a catchable ball. From what I’ve read and heard, most of those ‘misses’ were uncatchable, and from a group of QBs that makes the Bills stable this year look good. Not to say this guy is a good bet to pan out…if Cleveland is willing to give him away for nothing, there’s gotta be a reason for it…but I don’t think that skewed stat is the reason.

  5. Joma- no doubt the target / catch percentage can be a skewed stat but I think it does say something- the good receivers are usually decent in this stat and the bad ones typically are not- especially when compared to receivers on the same team.
    Coleman was second to last on the Browns last year, beat out only by Bryce Treggs who had 5 receptions on 18 attempts (27.8%).

    Incidently for the Bills last season, unfortunately Zay Jones was pretty bad (36.5%) but not as bad as Kaelin Clay who was 1 out of 4.
    On the positive side Kelvin Benjamin caught 59.3%.

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