Photo: @buffalobills on Instagram
The Bills have traded Sammy Watkins and a 2018 sixth-round pick to the Rams for EJ Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick, the teams announced Friday. Additionally, the Bills have acquired Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick from the Eagles in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby. The trades were announced minutes apart through Twitter.
We've acquired CB E.J. Gaines and a 2018 2nd round pick from the Rams for WR Sammy Watkins and a 2018 6th round pick. pic.twitter.com/jssDP1sVBw
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) August 11, 2017
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 11, 2017
The trades give the Bills a 2nd and 3rd-round draft pick for next year but lessens the talent on the roster for this season. They lose a starting CB and their best WR and get back a worse CB and a worse WR. The main reason for the Bills doing these trades is to keep on stockpiling picks.
Watkins’ biggest issue in Buffalo was staying on the field. Last season he only played 8 games and totaled 430 receiving yards and only 2 touchdowns. Watkins has only played a full season once out of his three seasons. This move shows that the Bills weren’t committed to Watkins long-term.
Gaines, a sixth-round pick in 2014, is a major downgrade from Ronald Darby. Gaines is entering his fourth NFL season and has 2 career interceptions and 110 career tackles. Last season was a major disappointment as Gaines played in 11 games and totaled 7 pass deflections and 47 tackles. He missed the entire 2015 season due to a foot injury.
This is a smart trade for the Eagles, as they need cornerback help and Matthews was in the last year of his contract and it wasn’t likely the Eagles would retain him this offseason. Darby, a second-round pick in 2015, has had a very solid career so far. In 29 career games, Darby has 2 interceptions and 121 tackles. Darby will take over the number 1 cornerback position for the Eagles and will be provided with some great challenges playing in the NFC East.
Matthews has been the number 1 receiver for the Eagles since DeSean Jackson was released after the 2014 season. In 46 career games, Matthews has brought in 225 receptions for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. Matthews will be missed in Philadelphia, but with the signings of Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith, plus the surprisingly strong play of Mack Hollins, the Eagles had the depth to unload Matthews.
Bills: B – They acquired more picks for next season, but took themselves out of contention for this season.
Rams: B+ – They acquire a star receiver in Watkins, but he has injury concerns, and they also lose a second-round pick.
Eagles: B+ – They get a young cornerback to bolster their cornerback depth, but lose a good receiver and a third rounder.