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Bills Trade Watkins To Rams, Acquire Matthews From Eagles

Sammy Watkins (USA TODAY Sports Images)
Recap

In a pair of unexpected, blockbuster moves, the Buffalo Bills have come to terms with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles to offload two stars from the Bills’ former front office regime. 

The Bills are sending former first-round pick WR Sammy Watkins along with a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for CB E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick. 

In the other trade, the Bills are acquiring WR Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for CB Ronald Darby.

Through their acquisition of Watkins, it looks as though the Los Angeles Rams have finally managed to acquire a true number one wideout for their 2016 first-overall pick Jared Goff to link up with. Watkins’ best NFL season came in 2015, his sophomore year, when he caught 60 passes for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns (in 13 games). 

Gaines has started at cornerback for the Rams since he was a rookie in 2014, when he made the 2014 NFL All-Rookie team. He was forced to sit out the entire 2015 season with a foot injury, but returned in 2016 to start 10 games. 

Darby, 5‘11, 195, was a second-round pick by the Bills in 2015. He had two solid seasons in Buffalo, earning 2015 NFL All-Rookie honors, but his style of play isn’t seen as ideal for the zone coverage defensive scheme the Bills are shifting to. 

Jordan Matthews, the likely new number one receiver for the Bills, started 13 games for the Eagles last season, catching 73 passes for 804 yards and three touchdowns. His low TD total was down last year from eight in each of 2014 and 2015. 

These blockbuster trades signify a clear change in direction for the Bills, as Brandon Beane, hired as the Bills’ new general manager in May, is clearly willing to move on from stars drafted by the previous regime. 

The Bills now own the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2018 first-round pick, the Rams’ 2018 second-round pick, and the Eagles’ 2018 third-round pick (via ESPN’s Field Yates).

Our Take
David Kaptzan
Reporting Manager, Junior Editor, General MLB Reporter

If Watkins is able to overcome his recent struggles with injuries (missed 11 games in the last two seasons), look for Jared Goff to have a better sophomore campaign, though Watkins certainly won’t be a cure-all for his struggles. Darby should be a solid addition to the Eagles’ sorry defensive backfield.

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