July 21, 2018

Buffalo Bills starting over at wide receiver and secondary in 2017

12 August 2017, 11:38 | Anna Jefferson

Former Missouri DB EJ Gaines headed to Buffalo as part of Sammy Watkins trade

Sammy Watkins traded to NFC team

The Bills announced Friday that they completed a trade with the Los Angeles Rams that will send wide receiver Sammy Watkins and a 2016 sixth round pick for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second round pick.

Trading away Darby is an interesting decision since the Bills lack depth in the secondary. This month alone, the Bills signed veteran wideout Anquan Boldin - ninth in National Football League history with 1,076 career receptions. In 2015, he led 86 wide receivers with 50 or more targets in Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target at 1.05. - every time he was targeted, Buffalo gained over a full expected point. He finished second on the Rams in rushing yards a year ago (albeit with only 149 yards on the season) and third in receiving yards with only 509. And he's had to play with a mix of quarterbacks in Philadelphia, so that says a lot about his versatility.

The headliner of these trades is Watkins. If Goff is going to live up to his first overall status, he needed to begin showing it this year anyway.

If Watkins can live up to Robey-Coleman's assessment, it becomes a worthwhile transaction, even if it also means using the franchise tag to keep him or signing him to a lucrative long-term deal as his contract expires at the end of this season. Obviously, it was the latter all along. It didn't help that the Bills gave up so much to draft him in 2014 when there were other wide receivers - Odell Beckham Jr., to name one - available. There are new sheriffs in town. Are the Bills in full-on tank mode?

Either way, it's clear the Bills were looking beyond the Watkins era after refusing to pick up his pricey option for 2018. Throughout the National Football League season, we'll be interviewing featured experts and team correspondents who will offer insight to help your squads.

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Friday afternoon that he doesn't like the word "untouchable" as it pertains to the trade status of players on his team. He has the size and speed to make some plays. Taylor took a $10 million pay cut during the offseason to remain with the Bills, but his future with the team remains in doubt.

Hue Jackson and company will not only have multiple first-rounders again in 2018, they now own three picks in the second round of next year's draft.

Everything about their moves up to this point signals the Bills are planning for a big 2018 draft. It was his first game in New England since suspending quarterback Tom Brady in the scandal that came to be known as "Deflategate".

Darby and Watkins will be missed.

The Buffalo Bills wanted to make a splash. It may not pan out in 2017, but the Bills' front office is doing the right things to plan for 2018 and beyond.

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