Bills trades leaves club loaded for 2018 National Football League draft

Ruben Hill
August 12, 2017

He was a first round pick for the Bills in 2014.

The Buffalo Bills' running back was blindsided by his trade to the team two years ago. On Friday afternoon, the Bills traded Sammy Watkins to the Rams and cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles, igniting an immediate national reaction that the Bills are "throwing in the towel" on the 2017 season. As players and coaches, they coach and we play.

His skillset also meshed well with that of Tyrod Taylor, a player who, this summer, nearly became an ex-Bill himself. He required a second operation in January after aggravating the injury last season. Over his career, he's had 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. In 2015, the Eagles traded him to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso and it took a year for McCoy to fully grasp what happened, and to get comfortable in his new surroundings. But it reflects McDermott taking the long view more than past regimes did. If they cut him after 2018, there would be no dead cap money.

Earlier this month, Bills GM Brandon Beane hedged when asked what his timeline might be for addressing Watkins' expiring rookie deal.

"I'm always going to listen", McDermott said of the trade proposal. "I think that allows us to have our 1-on-1 matchups and it allows us to do all the work and let Sammy run free". It's several - I mean, several - starting-caliber players away from even having a shot at winning the NFC West.

"I'm invested and I feel what they feel", McDermott said.

Bills trades leaves club loaded for 2018 National Football League draft
Bills trades leaves club loaded for 2018 National Football League draft

Bills brass, though, may already have had this date in mind to make a different kind of move. (Brooks, coming off a ruptured quad tendon, injured his hamstring Thursday in the preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers.) Inconsistency has plagued the group during the spring and summer, and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has made it quite clear that the competition is far from settled.

Buffalo now owns two selections in the first, second and third rounds of the 2018 draft.

Jordan Matthews forged a strong connection to Carson Wentz, but now Matthews is gone, leaving the Eagles quarterback looking for targets. Unlike Matthews, who should be able to earn a starting job, Gaines will be joining an open competition to replace Darby.

Darby, 23, was a second-round pick of Buffalo in 2015 out of Florida State and represents an immediate upgrade for an Eagles CB depth chart. The Rams now line up nicely at receiver, with Watkins as the deep threat, Robert Woods as the sure-handed possession receiver and rookie Cooper Kupp in the slot. Both of the deals might give a good sign of the direction that the Buffalo Bills are heading in for the future.

"I get it", McDermott said. But, it certainly had been. The move seems shocking to many fans as the team made a big trade to go up to No. 4 in the 2014 NFL Draft to acquire him.

A fresh start might just be what the doctored ordered for Watkins to get back to his playmaking days at Clemson.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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