November 21, 2017
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Bills trade WR Watkins to Rams, acquire WR Matthews

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

Sammy Watkins is Hollywood bound.

The athletic wide receiver was traded by the Buffalo Bills to the Los Angeles Rams on Friday along with a Bills’ 2018 sixth-round draft pick for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick.

Buffalo also traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick.

Watkins, 24, was drafted by the Bills with the fourth-overall draft pick in 2014 after Buffalo traded its first- and fourth-round picks in the following draft to the Cleveland Browns to move up the No. 4.

The former Clemson standout has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in three NFL seasons despite undergoing multiple foot surgeries. Last season, Watkins played in just eight games and totaled 430 yards and two scores on 28 catches.

Watkins had a team-high 39 receiving yards on four catches in Thursday’s preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

“Sammy has proven he can be a productive player and an explosive receiver in this league, we look forward to having him in a Rams uniform,” Rams general manager Les Snead said in a news release. “We want to thank E.J. for all he has contributed to our organization since we drafted him in 2014.

“E.J. has been a dedicated professional during his time with us and we wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors.”

Matthews, 25, totaled 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons with the Eagles. He was drafted by Philadelphia 42nd overall in the second round of the 2014 draft.

Watkins and Matthews will both become unrestricted free agents in March.

Gaines, 25, had 56 tackles, seven passes defensed and a forced fumble for the Rams in 11 games last season, his second NFL season.

The 23-year-old Darby totaled 69 stops and 12 passes defensed in 14 games with the Bills in 2016, which was also his second year in the league.

The trade gives Buffalo two first and second round draft picks in 2018, ammunition for a front office that has been non-committal on starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Overall, the Bills have six picks in the first three rounds.

The Bills’ front office was boosted by an offseason regime change that saw first-year coach Sean McDermott get more say in personnel moves.

After the trade, Taylor deleted a tweet that included a photo of him standing with Watkins and wideout Zay Jones along with the caption “We just getting started fellas…”.

Watkins is reunited with former Bills wideout Robert Woods in Los Angeles and is expected to fill the team’s top receiver role.

The Bills created $1.4 million in cap room with the two deals.

 


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