“The legend of Sammy Watkins is growing by the day,” writes Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com in his dispatch from Bills training camp, suggesting that no one in the organization is regretting giving up its 2015 first-round pick in order to land the wide receiver this May. The man who pulled the trigger on that trade, GM Doug Whaley, had nothing but praise for the rookie wideout.
“Sammy is as advertised, and actually even better than advertised because of everything he does off field,” Whaley said. “His preparation, his want to be the best, his professionalism. He is wise beyond his years.”
While Watkins has been the star of Buffalo’s camp so far, La Canfora provides several other nuggets of note, so let’s dive in and round those up….
- Based on La Canfora’s conversations with people who have knowledge of the Bills’ sale process, he’d be surprised if the finalists aren’t Sabres owner Terry Pegula and the Jon Bon Jovi/Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment/Rogers Communications group.
- Still, there are believed to be 16 approved parties seeking to purchase the franchise, and those groups must submit a letter of intent by next week if they intend to remain in the mix, says La Canfora. That letter wouldn’t include a formal bid, but it would feature some approximate figures involved in a possible purchase price. The Wilson trust will narrow the field during August and eventually decide on two or three finalists. Ideally, the trust will present the winning bidder to the NFL finance committee ahead of its September 11 meeting, in time for owners to vote on the sale at the October league meeting.
- Sources tell La Canfora that many within the Bills organization hope that Pegula purchases the team, particularly since the odds are greater that the football operations and business-side management would remain intact in that scenario.
- La Canfora expects the Bills to field trade inquiries on running backs as injuries pile up around the league (Vick Ballard and Kendall Hunter are already out for the season). In La Canfora’s view, a trade market for C.J. Spiller could materialize over the next few weeks, with Spiller entering the final year of his contract with no extension imminent. In the event of a deal, Fred Jackson, Bryce Brown, and Anthony Dixon would carry the load in Buffalo’s backfield.
- According to Whaley, the team doesn’t plan to pursue any outside free agents to fill the void at linebacker following Kiko Alonso‘s season-ending injury. The club is confident with in-house options like Keith Rivers and rookie Preston Brown.