Bills WR Cole Beasley: 'I'm just glad I'm on this side'

Cole Beasley was the quiet Cowboys contributor who didn't get paid.

In March, he was offered a decent sum by Dallas, around an average of $6 million per year. But Buffalo wanted him more and showed it with a higher average annual value of $7.25 million, enough to earn his signature in the initial hours of free agency.

On Thursday, it proved to be money well spent. Beasley caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in his first game in the greater Dallas area -- where he attended SMU and Little Elm High School -- since he left for the Bills. His effort and that of his teammates on both sides of the ball produced a 26-15 win that wasn't as close as the score indicated, and afterward, his teammates and coaches were even happier for his success than he was.

"I'm just grateful, really, for [Cole] and his mindset, as well, because of what he comes from and what he stands for," Bills coach Sean McDermott said, via ESPN. "He's just one piece but there's a lot of other stories in our locker room of guys like Cole -- that maybe it didn't work out in one place, but it works out in Buffalo.

"That's the culture we're trying to build, where guys come to Buffalo ... and they can become the best version of themselves."

Thanksgiving Beasley was the best version of the slot receiver since 2015, which was the last time he broke 110 yards in a game. It might seem it was just a coincidence that Beasley flourished at AT&T Stadium, but judging by his words after the game, there's likely more to it than that.

"I'm just glad I'm in a place coaches believe in me, teammates believe in me and they give me opportunities to do what I do," he said. "I was telling everybody before the game, I'm just glad I'm on this side while we're here.

"It's been a great experience, and everybody else played their butts off and got win No. 9. That's the most important thing, so I'm just glad to take another step forward."

Beasley's departure from Dallas wasn't entirely acrimonious, but it was rather swift. He didn't take long during the offseason to explain his reasoning -- beyond the financial difference -- which had plenty to do with the freedom (or lack thereof) afforded him by his coaches.

Instead of playing an underappreciated but effective role in the Cowboys' offense, Beasley was granted the "more opportunities" and "more options" he wanted in Buffalo. He's already 10 receptions beyond his annual average during his career with the Cowboys and is nearly on pace for his intended target of 75 receptions in his first season with the Bills. It paid off for him Thursday on a national stage for a team that doesn't get much national love.

While Beasley's old team shuffled off the field to a locker-room scolding from one of its veteran members, the diminutive, blond-haired pass-catcher was left to smile and celebrate with his teammates along the other sideline. It was nice to be home for the holiday.

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