Holy Bills. I'm trying to have a lazy Friday. Calm down, will ya? For those of you not paying attention to your twitter feeds, the Bills traded Sammy Watkins and their 2018 6th round pick to the LA Rams for corner back EJ Gaines and a 2018 2nd round pick. Then they swung corner back Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a 2018 3rd round pick. On paper, a shocking move. But lets dive in.
The Bills took Watkins with the 4th overall pick in 2014. They selected Darby with 51st overall pick in the second round of the 2015 draft. Watkins was particularly expensive for the Bills. They moved up only 5 spots to get him, but they traded away their 2014 1st round pick, their 2015 1st round pick, and their 2015 4th round pick. Just three seasons later he's out the door. The writing was on the wall when the Bills declined to pick up his 5th year option, meaning he will be a free agent in 2018. He was lit-trally the only WR from the 2014 draft class to not have his option picked up. Speaking of WRs in that draft class, the Bills gave up all that to take Watkins, passing on Odell Beckham, Kelvin Benjamin, and ya boy Brandin Cooks. Yikes.
But look at it this way. Watkins is a free agent at the end of this season. Clearly the Bills didn't have much interest keeping him around. Jordan Matthews and EJ Gaines are also free agents. You're not committed to anything long term there. So you swap out Slammin Sammy, who has prolific talent but due to major injury concerns never gave you close to the return on your investment. You replace him with Jordan Matthews. His time was growing thin in Philly when they added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this off season, not to mention the improved play of Nelson Agholor. Matthews brings the Bills a possession receiver who went for 73 grabs, 804 yards, and 3 tuddies in 14 games last season. As we've stated on this site before, the Bills don't throw it that much. Maybe guys like Matthews and Anquan Boldin who don't hit the big play but keep the chains moving will prove a more worthwhile strategy.
At corner the Bills lose Darby who went for 12 passes defended and 0 picks in 2016. How are they ever going to replace that? I'll tell you how. By bringing in the feisty Gaines who went for 7 passes defended and 0 picks. Feels like a wash to me. Did the Bills improve? Should the AFC East Crown that has been perched soundly on my head for the duration of the Tom Brady era be shaking? Not exactly. But that's only if you look at this season. Where the Bills made their money is in the draft picks. Giving up a 6th rounder for a 2nd and a 3rd next season is a big score.
The Bills now have 6 picks in the top 3 rounds next year. If you draft right (CERTAINLY not a given) you can order fire your rebuild on the hop. Throw that thing on the grill and grab a beer. If I'm Buffalo, I feel great about this. Giving up a lot for Sammy and having it not pan out hurts for sure, but isn't this year a bust anyway?? Maybe even the next couple years assuming good health for Tom Brady. They can't possibly have real dreams of competing. Sammy Watkins was about to walk out that door for FREE. He was an expiring contract. And you have a taker to salvage a high pick back. There's a huge risk. What if he gets hurt again? What if he leaves after free agency? That's a pretty price to pay by the Rams if it's a one year rental. If you're the new regime in Buffalo you gotta pull the trigger on that. When opportunity knocks, let her the fuck in, and for God sake, let her pay Sammy Watkins to ride the stationary bike on the sideline every Sunday.