JUNE 4: Watkins’ initial agreement with the Bills was disapproved due to a minor language error that needed to be changed, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports, who says the deal has been fixed and resubmitted (Twitter links).
MAY 28: Fourth overall pick Sammy Watkins has signed his rookie contract with the Bills, the team announced today (via Twitter). It makes Watkins the highest-drafted player so far to officially ink his deal, surpassing No. 5 overall selection Khalil Mack, who signed with the Raiders earlier this month.
Watkins, a Clemson product who was considered the draft’s top wide receiver, went to Buffalo after the club traded its 2015 first-rounder, among other picks, in order to move up from No. 9 to snag him. According to Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap, the newest Bill is in line for a signing bonus worth about $12.819, with an overall base value of just under $20MM on his four-year contract. The deal will also include a fifth-year team option for 2018.
While there had been some speculation that the Bills’ decision to trade up for Watkins was influenced by the team’s uncertain ownership situation, CEO Russ Brandon shot down that idea earlier in the week. “That was a football decision, and it wasn’t tied to the future of the organization,” Brandon said of the trade up for Watkins. “It is business as usual. We’re making football decisions, no matter what. … It has not one iota of an impact on who the future owner may be.”
With Watkins locked up, fifth-round guard Cyril Richardson is the only Bills draftee who remains unsigned.