Who said Friday were slow news days?
The Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams all did their part to make sure that this Friday in the NFL was memorable by pulling off corresponding trades to give us football-heads something to talk about.
The Bills sent wide receiver Sammy Watkins along with a 2018 6th round pick to the Rams and sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles in exchange for the Rams’ 2018 2nd round pick, cornerback Ej Gaines, Eagles wideout Jordan Matthews and Philadelphia’s 2018 3rd round pick.
How the Bills Won
Buffalo clearly wanted to move on from Watkins and it was evident when they declined to pick up his 5th year contract option back in May of this year.
Watkins, who they traded up for in the 2014 NFL Draft has always been full of potential but injuries have limited his impact on the field.
With Buffalo in a “reset” mode as opposed to a full rebuild, it makes sense to drop a player that they do not feel fits their long term plans and recoup something while he still holds value.
Remember, if Watkins fails to stay healthy or be productive this season than his value diminishes so the Bills sold on a player when they felt that his value was still good.
The return shows that. While the departure of Ronald Darby will sting more than Watkins they are now armed with an additional 2nd round and 3rd round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft along with a good receiver in Jordan Matthews who needed a change of scenery.
Matthews, 25, posted 73 receptions for 804 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2016, a drop-off from 2015 when he hauled in 85 receptions for 997 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Gaines was projected to play the starting corner spot for the Rams.
How the Rams Won
Los Angeles has clearly seen enough of Tavon Austin as their #1 wide receiver option and this moves signifies that they have come to the conclusion that Austin is better served in a complimentary role as opposed to the aerial attacks primary option.
Watkins will have a chance to become a star in Los Angeles if he can stay on the field and realize the potential that accompanied him coming out of the draft.
If Watkins can be the player that he has showed flashes of being than the Rams just landed a major weapon for young quarterback Jared Goff.
How the Eagles Won
The Eagles have struggled to draft cornerbacks in recent years and the addition of Darby, along with his affordable salary, helps Philly address an area of need with a young, solid cornerback that should fit coordinator Jim Schwartz’s system.
Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor had taken over Matthews spot in the slot and Philly is rich with promising young prospects at cornerback so moving Matthews is understandable especially when the return is Darby.
The 3rd round pick is a steeper price to pay but in the ultra-competitive NFC East the Eagles needed to make a move for a solid player if they were going to make one and Darby, who was Buffalo’s best corner in 2016, fits the bill (no pun intended).