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Buffalo Bills failed Antonio Brown trade has been a turning point

Buffalo Bills failed Antonio Brown trade has been a turning point.

The Buffalo Bills are a great example that sometimes the deal you don’t make is the best one for your franchise.

Less than one year after trading up in the 2018 NFL Draft for Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen, who struggled mightily as a passer in his rookie season, the Bills set out to upgrade their offensive weaponry.

They were thinking a big, booming type of move.

Late in the evening on March 7, it was reported that the Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers were close on a deal that would send star receiver Antonio Brown to Buffalo for some pretty substantial draft pick compensation.

When everyone woke up the next morning, any potential deal had completely fallen apart.

From @gmfb: The #Bills neared a trade last night for WR Antonio Brown, who would not commit to showing up in Buffalo. The organization did speak with agent Drew Rosenhaus. This morning, Buffalo says they are out, amid uncertainty. Steelers are square one again. pic.twitter.com/d4suLfaVWP

Brown didn’t want to commit to the Bills, and the Bills likely didn’t want to trade for Brown and tear up his contract to meet his new demands.

As difficult as that may have been for Buffalo to do, it has proven to be a very fortuitous fit that Brown threw over the potential trade.

At the time this trade was struck, the Bills’ wide receiver group at the top was Zay Jones, Robert Foster, and Isaiah McKenzie.

It wasn’t exactly a murderer’s row of receivers.

By April 1, the Bills had gone out in free agency and signed veterans Cole Beasley and John Brown away from the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.

Beasley caught a bunch of flak from fans of the Cowboys who criticized him for leaving Dallas for money and not caring about winning.

The Bills have made the playoffs in each of Beasley’s first two seasons in Buffalo while Dallas has missed them in both seasons. The Bills were also AFC East Champions in 2020, just so that’s all on the record.

In 2020, Beasley is closing in on his first 1,000-yard season at the age of 31 while John Brown had over 1,000 yards in his first season in Buffalo.

He has been limited to just eight games in 2020 but Brown is still a key piece of Buffalo’s offense, which showed tremendous progress throughout 2019 and has taken a massive leap forward in 2020 thanks to another wide receiver trade that did go through.

Stefon Diggs was acquired from the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills have to be enjoying the heck out of that trade. Even with a top draft choice involved, Buffalo has seen Diggs take another step in his NFL career at the age of 27 with over 1,300 yards and 111 receptions, career highs in both categories.

Diggs has been the go-to target of quarterback Josh Allen, and has put the Bills in position to be a true contender with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.

Who knew?

All of this success can be traced back to that pivotal point in March 2019 when the trade for Antonio Brown fell through. Whether it was contractual or just the fact that he didn’t want to play for the Buffalo Bills, Brown’s mentality towards the move was such that it clearly turned Buffalo off and nothing came about.

They want players who obviously want to be in Buffalo, and thankfully they had the chance to find out from Brown before they had agreed to complete any sort of trade.

From that point forth, the Bills assembled one of the best groups of receivers in the NFL, not only with Diggs, Beasley, and Brown, but rookie Gabriel Davis who has made an impact and offensive weapon Isaiah McKenzie whose speed is a tremendous threat.

Rookie Isaiah Hodgins is another player with a bright future.

This is a Bills team that has buy-in from everyone on the roster. No one could have anticipated that missing out on Antonio Brown and getting a true team-first guy like Cole Beasley would be the start of something special for the Buffalo passing game, but it really has been.

These guys are dynamic, smart, and hitting on all cylinders as we approach January football.

Business is definitely boomin’ in Buffalo.

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