The Buffalo Bills have traded Sammy Watkins and a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for E.J Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick, the teams announced on Friday. In a subsequent trade, the Bills received Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick from the Eagles in exchange for Ronald Darby.
Altogether, the trade nets the Bills second-round and third-round picks in 2018 but leaves the roster in a lesser state for the 2017 season. Matthews has been a relatively productive receiver in Philadelphia, but he doesn’t bring the big play ability that Watkins does.
Watkins’ health problems were his main issue in Buffalo, though. He’s struggled to stay on the field since his rookie season, and the trade to Los Angeles is a case of the Bills giving up on him as a long-term piece.
He sat out of eight games last year, and even before then, he wasn’t playing up to par. When healthy, he’s among the most explosive receivers in the league, but his health has held him back from being great. The Rams now get a chance with him if he ever returns to full form, as the team continues to try to pile up weapons for 2016 No. 1 pick Jared Goff.
Earlier in the offseason, the Rams signed Robert Woods as a free agent, and now he’ll be reunited with Watkins.
The Bills will instead work with Matthews and take a step back defensively by swapping out Ronald Darby for E.J. Gaines.