Bills deemed smart landing spot, potential 'fresh start' for failed first-round WR

One outlet has suggested that the Buffalo Bills should strike a deal to acquire wide receiver Treylon Burks from the Tennessee Titans.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) is introduced before a game against the Atlanta
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) is introduced before a game against the Atlanta / Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA

When a team’s roster construction strategy at a specific position essentially boils down to ‘shots at a dartboard,’ what’s the harm in adding another dart?

The Buffalo Bills made significant alterations to its receiving corps in the 2024 offseason, parting ways with previous lead contributors Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis and replacing them on the depth chart with free agent signee Curtis Samuel and rookie Keon Coleman. The team rounded out the unit with an amalgamation of tenured journeymen, potential reclamation projects, and special teamers, signing Mack Hollins, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Chase Claypool, and K.J. Hamler to compete with young players like Justin Shorter and Tyrell Shavers for spots at the bottom of the roster throughout training camp and preseason.

Samuel, Coleman, and third-year receiver Khalil Shakir project as the primary contributors in Buffalo’s revamped receiving corps, a unit that, on paper, does little to strike fear into opposition. While it’s fair to suggest that otherworldly quarterback Josh Allen will likely elevate the position group and allow it to play above its perceived talent level, it’s also fair to suggest that the unit, on the surface, isn’t particularly frightening—Samuel, while talented, has never usurped 1,000 receiving yards in a single season. Coleman is a relatively raw prospect who may experience initial growing pains at the professional level. Shakir, while promising, is not a surefire lead offensive contributor.

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There’s talent in the group and the potential for consistent production is certainly there, but it’s simply not a sure thing at this juncture. The question marks throughout the unit have prompted many pundits to state that Buffalo should invest in further external reinforcements, with one outlet suggesting that the team should look into a once-promising wideout now entering his third season. In a recent article highlighting eight post-NFL draft trades that make sense, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport identified Tennessee Titans receiver Treylon Burks as a player who may be of interest to the Bills.

"With DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd all ostensibly ahead of Burks on the depth chart, he's at best the No. 4 option for a [Tennessee] passing attack that ranked 29th in the NFL In 2023," Davenport wrote. " . . . The Bills need a second boundary receiver to pair with Coleman. A rebuilding Titans team can use all the draft capital it can get ahead of what may well be a long season in Nashville. And Burks needs a fresh start—and a change of scenery.

"The upgrade at quarterback from Will Levis to Josh Allen wouldn't hurt."

A once-highly touted prospect who drew comparisons to A.J. Brown (a player he was ostensibly traded for during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft), Burks has underwhelmed throughout his professional career, with a seemingly neverending string of injuries limiting him to just 15 appearances throughout his two NFL seasons. He’s shown flashes in some of those games but has been largely disappointing, catching just 49 passes for 665 yards and one touchdown.

It’s likely too early to write Burks off entirely—he’s only 24 years old, and the combination of size, speed, and versatility that made him a top-20 draft pick just two years ago is definitely still there. That said, the already tall stack of injuries is concerning, and one could forgive an NFL general manager for being hesitant to part with a significant asset in exchange for the former Arkansas Razorback.

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It is, however, a swing that may behoove Buffalo at the right price; is there any real harm in parting with a day-three pick to acquire a once-promising wide receiver to compete with the likes of Valdes-Scantling and Claypool for a roster spot? Worst case scenario, the Bills are out a late-round draft pick. Best case? They’ve potentially backed into a long-term No. 2 wideout.

The former scenario is obviously much more likely than the latter, but given the general uncertain state of Buffalo’s current receiving corps, there’s no harm in adding another wild card into the mix—at the right price. Davenport suggests trading a 2025 fifth-round pick and a 2026 sixth-round pick in exchange for Burks and a 2026 seventh-round pick; this sounds great, but the Bills do not have a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft. They instead have two fourth-rounders (the extra from the Chicago Bears) and two sixth-round selections (the extra from the New York Giants). 

The assets exchanged in a Burks trade are what would ultimately determine its quality; from a 30,000-foot view, however, the idea of adding further competition and talent to an unproven and inexperienced receiving corps is quite intriguing. 

Kyle Silagyi