Cole Beasley is one of the better slot receivers in the NFL. He is under contract with the Buffalo Bills next season, slated to make $4.7 million in base salary. He is also very adamantly against getting the COVID-19 vaccine, as you know very well know if you've glanced at his Twitter account at any point this summer.
Beasley first spoke out when the NFL announced its COVID protocols for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated individuals and hammered the NFLPA for agreeing to the terms. Restrictions on close contact remain for the unvaccinated, while the vaccinated can essentially go about their daily lives unimpeded for the first time since the 2019 season. It's only gotten worse since then, and Beasley has regularly pushed back on the idea that he has to get the vaccine for the safety of others and to help his team win.
He spoke out against that last point in particular yesterday after Michael Irvin said that any player who chooses to not get the vaccine isn't interested in winning because the competitive advantage of being a fully-vaccinated (or at least at the 85 percent threshold) team is so substantial.
As you can see, Beasley's biggest issue with the discourse as it stands is that it is his choice to do it or not. He apparently feels he should not be criticized for making that choice. He pushed that agenda today with a somewhat bizarre tweet about the Pfizer vaccine.
If nothing else, Beasley is correct to believe with all his heart that this is his choice. It is! That does not mean we are all obligated to agree with him (I certainly do not), nor does the concept of personal opinion free him from the consequences of that decision.
At this point, one of those consequences may very well be that Beasley finds himself unemployed sooner rather than later. The Bills wouldn't cut him just because he wouldn't get the vaccine. That opens up a Pandora's Box of player rights lawsuits with the NFLPA and would alienate other players who choose not to get the vaccine, which would be especially problematic given that Josh Allen may be among that group after deflecting a question about his vaccination status earlier this summer.
But cutting a player because he's become a distraction to the team with his off-the-field activities? That is absolutely grounds for termination in the NFL. Beasley's dedication to making a fuss about the vaccine on Twitter is starting to reach that territory. The biggest storyline heading into training camp is not Buffalo's opportunity to build upon their most successful season this century, or their star young QB taking the next step towards becoming one of the very best the NFL has to offer. No, it is Beasley's refusal to get the vaccine and public campaign that it's not bad, actually, to do so.
It's not like he's irreplaceable. Beasley is a productive and valuable member of the offense after catching 82 passes for 967 yards last year, sure. But the Bills would only suffer a $3.5 million dead cap hit if they just cut Beasley outright to get rid of the distraction during training camp. That's pocket change in the grand scheme of NFL cap hits. GM Brandon Beane may very well decide answering questions about Beasley's aggressive anti-vaccine stance isn't worth keeping him around. Players have been cut for less in the past.
Of course, it all goes away if Beasley just gets vaccinated. That seems unlikely at this point, but on the other hand, Mark Cuban just offered him a payday. So, maybe?
I guess we'll have to wait and see if Beasley takes up Cuban on that offer.