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Bills GM Brandon Beane talks Diggs trade, draft, virus shutdown with Bills media


Buffalo Bills General Manager Brandon addressed the media via Zoom for over an hour Thursday.

Of course, the Stefon Diggs trade came up. Beane said in the afternoon of the first day teams could talk to free agents, he made a call to Minnesota on Stefon Diggs and Minnesota wasn’t interested at that time. He talked to Minnesota later and they said it needed to be a big deal. Beane circled back later and worked on the deal at about 9:45pm or so. About 30 minutes later, it was done.

Beane said he felt it was important to continue helping the offense improve. “I said at the end of the season press conference that I blamed myself as much as anybody. It’s my job and my personnel staff’s (job) to help add weapons for Brian Daboll and his offensive staff and help our quarterback and Sean (McDermott),” Beane said. “One of the things I thought we still needed was someone opposite John Brown and with Cole Beasley.

“We don’t know what kind of offseason we’ll have. I just thought it was going to be really hard to trade up to get a guy that I know could walk in on day one. I just felt a proven commodity was worth this.”

Beane sees Diggs as the team’s first round pick this year. He even joked that he’ll watch Diggs highlight videos during round one while the Bills don’t have a selection.

The corona virus induced shutdown of NFL facilities did weigh into the trade. Beane figures the draft capital he dealt to Minnesota could have moved the Bills from 22nd to 18th or 19th in round one. That would not have been high enough to land an immediate impact starter. Diggs is certainly that.

“Iit’s just a more proven thing right now. I know this guy will be ready once he learns the verbiage of our system quicker than (a guy) in college,” Beane said.

Beane did talk about the free agents he brought in this year and that the organization was very familiar with almost all of the new signees. The familiarity between the new free agents and the organization will help if preparation for the season is shortened by the corona virus pandemic.

“I think that’s part of it. These are guys that we did target. Obviously, when we signed Josh (Norman) we didn’t know this (virus) was going to break out like it has,” he said.

Beane was asked if medical concerns for some possible draft picks will have an impact on where they fall in the draft. The Bills medical staff has been reaching out to college team trainers and doctors.

“We are trying to close the loop so to speak, medically and character wise. There are still some guys that we see production, but we’re trying to close as many loops as we can.”

As far as dealing with the coronavirus situation, Beane says, “I’m a guy that’s stressed when I’m not stressed. I get that from my mom. It’s just one of those things. I don’t want to sit and watch the news 24 hours a day or sit on my phone and read because I know what it looks like. (The draft has) been a good distraction for me and, I think, for my staff to focus on something other than what’s hitting us in the face right now.”

Beane talked about two of the biggest names in the league at quarterback, Tom Brady and Cam Newton. Beane says he’s a little disappointed the Bills won’t get a chance to play and beat Brady, something his Bills teams were not able to do. He did downplay the Bills as the team to beat in the AFC East. He was adamant that team remains the New England Patriots.

Beane says he has a lot of respect for Newton and it was unfortunate how things played out with his injuries. He said whatever team takes a chance on Newton is going to get a good quarterback.

Beane talked about the progress Harrison Phillips is making from his season ending knee injury last year. Beane is hopeful that Phillips will be ready for training camp, but the rehab process is slowed down a little bit with the current coronavirus situation.

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