He’s back. Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that the Bills have activated wideout Sammy Watkins from the injured reserve. ESPN’s Mike Rodak reports that Watkins is expected to play Sunday against the Jaguars. Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News tweets that the team has also released tight end Gerald Christian and placed safety Robert Blanton on the injured reserve. Finally, the Bills have also signed kickoff specialist Jordan Gay.
Watkins hasn’t played since Week 2 as he recovered from a lingering foot ailment, and he was placed on the injured reserve in late September. The wideout has been dealing with the foot injury since last May, when he had a screw inserted following a minor fracture. The 23-year-old struggled in his two games this season, hauling in only six catches for 63 yards. Of course, there’s no denying the talent of the former first-rounder, as Watkins finished the 2015 season with 60 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns in only 13 games.
The Bills could certainly use some help at receiver, especially with Robert Woods listed as doubtful for this weekend’s game. The Bills rank dead last in receiving yards this season, and while that could partly be attributed to quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the team’s lack of big-play wideouts have certainly limited the offense’s potential.
The team will be welcoming back an offensive weapon, but they’ll be losing some depth on defense. Blanton has played in 10 games this season (two starts), compiling 35 tackles. The 27-year-old injured his foot during last week’s game against the Bengals. Blanton will join fellow Bills safeties Colt Anderson and Aaron Williams on the injured reserve.
Christian, the Mr.Irrelevent of the 2015 draft, made two appearances for the Bills this season. The team signed the 25-year-old to their practice squad during the offseason, and he was promoted to the active roster in early October. Christian has already been released by the Bills once this season, and he subsequently landed on the team’s practice squad. Therefore, it’s easy to assume that the tight end will probably end up sticking with the organization.
Gay served as the Bills kickoff specialist during the 2014 and 2015 season, and he was let go by the team in late September. Dan Carpenter will presumably continue with field goal and extra point opportunities, with Gay strictly contributing during kickoffs.