Bills Trade Sammy Watkins To Rams

In a blockbuster trade, the Bills have sent wide receiver Sammy Watkins and a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Rams in exchange for for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick, Buffalo announced.Sammy Watkins (vertical)

[RELATED: Bills Acquire WR Jordan Matthews]

Los Angeles headed into the 2017 offseason with the goal of adding offensive weapons around second-year quarterback Jared Goff, and — when healthy — Watkins is a top-flight NFL wideout. After averaging 62 receptions for more than 1,000 and six touchdowns during his first two pro seasons, Watkins dealt with nagging injuries in 2016, and only managed 28 catches in eight appearances.

That lack of availability led Buffalo to decline its 2018 fifth-year option for Watkins, which would have paid him north of $13MM. As such, the Rams are acquiring Watkins as he enters his contract season, though they’ll certainly have options through which to retain him. The franchise tag will be on the table, and would allow Los Angeles to keep Watkins through at least 2018. Alternatively, the Rams could work out an extension with Watkins, something that’s presumably an ideal solution given the draft capital the club just sacrificed.

Watkins will now reunite with his former Bills teammate Robert Woods, who agreed to a free agent contract with the Rams this spring. Los Angeles also used several draft choices to upgrade a passing offense that ranked dead last in DVOA a season ago, selecting wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds while also adding tight end Gerald Everett in the second round.

Acquiring Watkins came at a price, however, as the Rams are not only giving up a 2018 second-round pick (a choice that, given the Rams’ current roster talent, could be a top-40 selection) but a young cornerback in Gaines. Gaines, 25, was a solid defender during his rookie campaign in 2014, missed the entirety of 2015 with an injury, and then struggled in 2016, grading as a bottom-four NFL corner, according to Pro Football Focus. Like Watkins, Gaines is entering the final year of his contract, during which he’ll earn $1.797MM.

For the Bills, this trade meshes with another deal struck by the club today in which Buffalo acquired wide receiver Jordan Matthews and sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles. Matthews, presumably, will be asked to replicate some form of Watkins’ production, while Gaines will be counted to start in place of Darby.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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18 comments on “Bills Trade Sammy Watkins To Rams

  1. YankeesBillsNets305

    And the Bills continue their trend of terrible front office management…I thought all this stopped when Whaley was fired…I guess not. Bills now have Two 1st rounders, two 2nd rounders and two 3rd rounders…have to be making a play for one of the big three QBs in next year’s draft…As a bills fan I hate these moves for a win-now perspective…there goes any chance of being competitive this season…I guess it all depends on how the 2018 draft shakes out for Buffalo

    • Connorsoxfan

      Yeah I wouldn’t call this horrible management. Watkins was going to be an FA and they already let Gilmore walk for nothing, I think they want to start the rebuild. It’s also possible they’re building for the post-Brady era and are hoping they can take the division after that.

    • PasswordIsPassword

      They shouldn’t use a pick on a qb. Taylor isn’t a fantastic qb but he’s quality starter

    • JT19

      Even in a win-now perspective, what was going to be the Bills’ realistic best case scenario? Barring a Brady injury, the Bills would’ve been a wild card team at best and likely out within the first two rounds. If Watkins was going to leave anyway, it makes sense to get rid of him now and get something than to have him walk for nothing.

      • YankeesBillsNets305

        I love this counter-argument from a non-bills fan. As a bills fan who’s team hasn’t made the playoffs since I was six- years-old (you can do the math to find out how old i am), this is a ridiculous argument. Regardless of whether they were spinning their wheels this year, if the Bills had kept Watkins and Darby and snuck into the playoffs this year, even if they were then blown out, a large majority of Bills fans would prefer a brief playoff appearance than yet another long rebuild that is not certain to produce a different result. Until the Bills make a playoff appearance and appease their fan base who have been waiting for almost two decades for a playoff game, rebuilding should be off the table.

        • Connorsoxfan

          I think the problem was that if they waited Darby was a rental, Watkins might leave, and they don’t have a ton of other assets. I think they’re shooting to compete in ’19. Maybe make a couple FA splashes in the next offseason, have the team mesh for a year, and hope the young guys develop in go all in for ’19.

    • Fanofsports5653

      I agree I think it’s our way of tanking like the Colts did before they got Luck it’s going to be a very long season

  2. ruckus727

    I like it. For both teams. Good value to get back on Buffalo’s end. And a nice piece to give Goff to help further his development. Hopefully he stays healthy this year.

    • Brace4It

      It’s a contract year and money is on the table for both players…Matthews and Watkins will be solid.

  3. giantboy99

    Awful trade for Rams…2nd rounder they surrendered will be a super high 2nd…wait & see.

  4. giantboy99

    Sammy Watkins can’t produce if he’s constantly injured if we’re truly being honest.

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