In wake of the Buffalo Bills' preseason opener, general manager Brandon Beane already has an eye toward the organization's future.
Watkins and a sixth-round draft pick in 2018 are on the way to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and the Rams' second-round pick in 2018.
The Sammy Watkins trade wasn't all the Buffalo Bills had in store for their roster, though. If Coach McVay can't come up with more clever ways of using him, his time as a Ram seems to be dwindling with the statement made today in this trade. As a result of the trade, Buffalo avoids Watkins' huge payday. He's a unique talent, but injuries have limited his productivity through his first three seasons. According to Pro Football Focus, Gaines allowed nine touchdowns. Though most analysts and writers including myself believe that Gurley is in for a bounce-back season, defenses from opposing teams have to respect and plan for the passing game of LA now that they tout a true WR1 in Watkins.
Both trades were announced within minutes of each other even though they were unrelated. Matthews immediately fills the void created by Watkins. Maybe he'll improve another season removed from the ailment, but if the Bills want to deal away a receiver with foot problems, it's an odd move to swap your best cornerback for one with foot problems of his own.
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For what it's worth, Jordan Matthews has been way more consistent than Watkins, as he has had at least 800 receiving yards and 65 receptions every single season.
"[Matthews] is a self-made man", Beane said.
"Jordan's a hard worker", McCoy said. Darby was considered their top cornerback on the depth chart. He now has a talented pass catcher to throw to in Watkins who can pull it down and separate easily from defensive backs when he is at 100%.
The Bills created $1.4 million in cap room with the two deals. 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. He's also entering a contract year, but the Bills additionally scored a third-rounder, giving them multiple picks in the first three rounds.
The 2017 draft saw the Bills moving in the opposite direction from what they did in 2014, moving out of the top 10 and getting an additional first-rounder in 2018 from the Kansas City Chiefs.