The Bills are declining Sammy Watkins‘ fifth-year option, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. The move was expected, but we did not have confirmation of it until today.
Watkins has been great when on the field, but injuries have limited him to just 37 of 48 possible regular season games since entering the league. In 2016, he only appeared in eight contests.
Watkins is currently recovering from foot surgery and that was reportedly a major factor in Buffalo’s decision. If they exercised Watkins’ option and he suffered an injury, they would be saddled with him at a $13.26MM salary for 2018. Conversely, if he’s healthy and productive in 2017, they can retain him for another season via the franchise tag, which would cost an estimated $16MM.
In his three seasons, Watkins has averaged 66 catches, 1,064 yards, and seven touchdowns per 16 games. Unfortunately for Watkins and the Bills, he hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since his rookie season in 2014.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.