Bills trades leaves club loaded for 2018 National Football League draft

Sammy Watkins News, Stats, Photos | Buffalo Bills - SB Nation
Los Angeles Rams Football News, Schedule, Roster, Stats - SB Nation

12 August, 2017

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby were sent packing in two separate trades within minutes of each other, and it left the Bills with a collective, wide-eyed look as they convened for a short practice.

In a stealth move the Rams spent all offseason monitoring, they reeled in Watkins from the Buffalo Bills for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick in the 2018 draft.

Watkins had been the Bills starter since Buffalo traded up five spots in the 2014 draft to select him with the No. 4 pick.

Matthews, like Watkins, faced his own battle with injuries. He has at least 103 targets in each of his first three seasons in the league. Manuel - neither of whom will be mistaken for Johnny Unitas - and managed to finish the year 18th in Reception NEP and 37th out 90 in Reception NEP per target among receivers with 50-plus target receivers.

Everything here is a significant advantage to Matthews, who has been a more consistent part of the offense in Philadelphia in spite of quarterback changes and has been on the field more than Watkins during the three years since they were drafted.

In 2015, Watkins hauled in 60 receptions for 1,047 yards and 9 touchdowns in only 13 games. But after the bombshell he dropped at One Bills Drive, one would have to believe that no one on the Buffalo roster is untouchable. Matthews is more of a steady possession receiver. This is a strong running game with a West Coast passing game.

Watkins is expected to arrive in Los Angeles on Saturday after catching four passes for 39 yards in the Bills' preseason opener Thursday.

Coming off the books in 2018 is defensive tackle Kyle Williams - who has a $7.4 million annual average salary - and center Eric Wood, who is likely to be replaced and on the wrong side of 30 averaging more than $6.3 million per season. The Bills have basically overhauled their wide receiving corps in attempt to be more productive in this area. However, as I noted in looking in past comparables, his early draft status and those horrific stats don't necessarily mean we can write him off. Rookie seasons aren't an end-all measuring stick for quarterbacks, but Goff's rookie campaign wasn't very good.

In 2016, the Rams used the first overall pick on Jared Goff out of Cal to be the face of the franchise as they moved from St. Louis to LA. He finished second on the Rams in rushing yards past year (albeit with only 149 yards on the season) and third in receiving yards with only 509.

The to-do list was daunting as the Rams trudged off the field at the Coliseum on New Year's Day to end the 2016 season.

To me, the big victor here is Gurley. Watkins gives the Rams a much-needed vertical threat to pair with a slot receiver in Cooper Kupp, a gadget receiver in Tavon Austin and a possession receiver in Robert Woods, who was also Watkins' teammate in Buffalo from 2014 to 2016.

In dynasty, the quarterback situation got a lot brighter.

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