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Bills GM Beane: Patriots still team to beat in AFC East

Brandon Beane appreciates your praise for his Bills, but he's not listening to much of it.

Yes, Tom Brady is out of the AFC East, and yes, the Bills were this close to a playoff win last season, but he's not ready to be considered a favorite. That title still belongs to Bill Belichick's team.

"I didn't expect Tom Brady to leave (New England). I will miss us playing against him," Beane said, via WGRZ-TV. "You always want to take down the best and now we won't have that chance. I think it's comical that people are writing off the Patriots. The team to beat in the division is the Pats. I think it's funny and comical that people are writing the Patriots off -- as long as Belichick is there, until we beat them, we've done nothing."

Well, the Bills have done something since Deshaun Watson dashed their title hopes. Beane went out and acquired a No. 1 receiver in Stefon Diggs.

Beane didn't wait until the draft because he wasn't entirely sold on a prospect who would be available by the time the Bills were able to pick. If Buffalo was going to have to move assets to get a top prospect, why not move similar assets for a known commodity?

"The draft is stacked with receivers," Beane explained, "but I think it became ever-present with what's going on around us that we don't know what kind of offseason we'll have, and I just felt like it was going to be really hard, unless I traded up really high, to find a guy that I know could walk in day one, let's just say, it's August before we get back to things. I just felt a proven commodity was worth the trade value of this move.

"It is one of those things where I view it, that's our first-round pick that we've moved up, the way I'm viewing it, with our draft capital used to acquire him, is that we moved up let's say four spots and we traded up and we got him and we know the player. It's just a more proven thing right now.

Diggs was outspoken about his desire to get out of Minnesota in the days before he was sent to Buffalo, which could have been what finally forced the Vikings' hand. Beane referred to the Vikings feeling some sort of "pressure" to get the deal done, with other teams also being involved in talks for Diggs, which expedited the trade between Buffalo and Minnesota. The haul GM Rick Spielman received -- first-, fifth- and sixth-round picks in 2020 and a fourth-round selection in 2021 -- didn't hurt, either.

Such public display of discontent might scare some teams off, but not Beane, who wants his team to have a little bit of attitude to go along with its ability and achievements.

"I think one of the misnomers out there is that we're looking for all choir boys and that's not accurate. We're looking for professionals," Beane said, via WGR 550-AM. "I would say this about him. He's a very competitive guy. I mentioned earlier, (he was) one of the guys that we looked at, at the trade deadline. So we did some recon there."

The recon checked out enough for the Bills to strike a big deal and land the franchise a No. 1 wideout it has sought since the days of, well, Eric Moulds (or maybe Lee Evans, who was effective but never elite). And it's still a steep climb to catch Andre Reed, who earned his gold jacket in the Bills' most successful years.

The Bills could be on the verge of a new era of excitement. They'll just need to take down the wise king of the division, first.

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