Bills trade Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby

Doug Mendoza
August 12, 2017

While we waited for a verdict on Ezekiel Elliott's 2017 season from the National Football League to continue our rankings, the Buffalo Bills made a decision to shake up the receiver rankings at the same time.

Sammy Watkins was the only starting receiver left from last season before Buffalo shipped him to the Los Angeles Rams on Friday. Shortly after that news hit, the team traded for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick.

That move was subsequently followed by another corner-for-receiver deal. In exchange for Watkins and Darby, they did acquire needed position players but also two future draft picks.

So let's talk about Watkins and Matthews.

Matthews is listed at 6-3 and 212 pounds. During his rookie season, Watkins had 128 targets from Kyle Orton and E.J.

Matthews has 225 receptions out of 349 targets. Matthews has been the Eagles most dependable receiver - even before the Carson Wentz era took over - but a mix of career-low numbers in 2016 plus the Eagles additions of Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith made the 25-year-old more expendable.

Matthews has 2,673 yards receiving, averaging 11.9 yards per reception. The Bills traded up to select Watkins fourth overall, then watched him catch 65 passes for 982 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie.

While many fans found it hard to part ways with one of the most promising receivers in Bills history, Buffalo is building for something special.

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That's all the past, though. "But I can understand how he feels, being traded for a guy that he's better than".

Shady McCoy will remain a key component of their passing game as well, and we already mentioned Boldin. Indeed, the ideal mentors for the rookie might be Boldin and Matthews.

"It's definitely good", Taylor said of his chemistry with Watkins at this point of the preseason. I understand Beane and McDermott don't want to look weak in their first year, but fans would likely understand the goal. They could either use those picks to build a quality roster or package a few of them to move up.

As for Darby, he had a nice rookie season in 2015, but declined last season, so a change of scenery may do him good. He completed under 55 percent of his pass attempts and threw seven touchdowns to only five touchdowns. It's little wonder Wyoming chooses to run the ball so much.

The Rams had hoped that the 5-foot-8 Austin would show more progress, but he spent the offseason recovering from wrist surgery and had been held out of training camp because of a hamstring injury. He hasn't registered a 1,000-yard season yet, but he's been a top option for the Eagles.

The challenge for the Bills will be whether they can curb his well-documented gunslinger tendencies. Last season, Matthews missed two games due to a back-related injury, and more recently he has been dealing with tendonitis in his knee. The Bills dealt a sixth-round pick to the Rams as part of the Watkins trade.

To me, the big victor here is Gurley.

In dynasty, the quarterback situation got a lot brighter.

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