clear
Friday August 18th, 2017 2:48AM

Bills trade Watkins to Rams, get Matthews from Eagles

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills' offseason overhaul isn't over yet now that receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby became the latest players to be sent packing.

The Bills dealt both starters in separate blockbuster trades on Friday in an effort to reshape the roster under new coach Sean McDermott.

Watkins was traded to the Los Angeles Rams, while Darby was sent to the Philadelphia Eagles. Buffalo addressed both positions by acquiring receiver Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia and cornerback E.J. Gaines from the Rams.

The Bills also continued looking to the future by further stockpiling 2018 draft selections. They acquired a second-round pick from L.A. and a third-rounder from the Eagles, while also sending a sixth-round pick to the Rams. Buffalo now has two picks in each of the first three rounds next year after acquiring the Kansas City Chiefs first-round selection in April.

The additional picks provide Bills general manager Brandon Beane assets in a draft that looks as if it will have several top-end quarterback prospects. Bills starter Tyrod Taylor's future is uncertain beyond this season.

McDermott acknowledged his most difficult challenge was not merely breaking the news of Watkins' departure to Taylor.

"I'll take it a step further: How do you sell it to the entire team?" McDermott said, before outlining his message.

"You put one step in front of the other and we move on," he said. "I asked them to continue to trust me and our decisions in terms of what we're doing."

Just don't call it a rebuilding plan , Beane said.

"This is not a throw-in-the-towel thing at all," Beane said. "If we were throwing in the towel, I wouldn't be trying to get that starting receiver back."

The deals, however, involve more changes to a team with just 28 players who opened training camp on Buffalo's roster a year ago. The Bills also have just 14 players whom they've drafted, not including this year's six-player class.

The trades caught Bills players by surprise a day after a 17-10 preseason-opening loss to Minnesota.

"It's tough to lose a guy like Sammy," Taylor said. "We have to put a positive lining. It's a win-now league. And as a team, we have to refocus, do whatever it takes to win games."

Watkins' future in Buffalo was already in question after the Bills declined to pick up his fifth-year contract option in May. Matthews is also entering the final season of his contract.

When healthy, Watkins showed glimpses of being a dynamic threat since Buffalo gave up a 2015 first-round pick to trade up five spots and select him fourth overall in 2014. He has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons, but topped 1,000 yards just once, in 2015.

Watkins has been hampered by an assortment of injuries and limited to playing just eight games last season after having surgery for a broken left foot. He required a second operation in January after aggravating the injury last season.

He joins a revamped group of receivers on a Rams offense that has ranked last in the NFL in each of the past two seasons.

Buffalo is also retooling its receiver position, with the trade coming four days after signing veteran free agent Anquan Boldin .

Matthews was Philadelphia's most productive receiver, averaging 75 catches, 891 receiving yards and six touchdowns in his first three seasons. But the Eagles signed free-agent receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and drafted Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson.

The key for Philadelphia was adding a starting-caliber cornerback in Darby to a defense that plays in the pass-happy NFC East.

"It's a corner-deficient league. It's hard to find those guys," Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. "And teams that have them aren't really ready to move them."

Darby started 29 games since the Bills selected him in the second round of the 2015 draft.

Gaines was a valuable defensive back in the Rams' rotation. He won a starting job in 2015, but then got hurt before the season started. He became expendable after the Rams acquired Kayvon Webster this offseason, who is pegged to start opposite Trumaine Johnson.

McDermott is aware how the trades have the potential of setting back Buffalo's preparedness at a time the franchise is in the midst of a 17-year playoff drought — the longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports.

"I'm invested. I know and feel what they feel," McDermott said, referring to Bills fans. "We're building a football team that we want to compete in the short and long term and be good for a long time. Sometimes that's a day-to-day process, and sometimes those are not easy decisions."

NOTES: S Bacarri Rambo is listed week to week after hurting his hamstring against Minnesota. ... The Bills are off Saturday before returning to training camp on Sunday. ... Matthews and Darby will get to face their former teams on Thursday, when the Bills travel to play Philadelphia in a preseason game.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi in Philadelphia and AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Business, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Federer, Canadian teen Shapovalov reach semis in Montreal
Roger Federer advanced to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup and was joined later by Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov
9:37PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Bills trade Watkins to Rams, get Matthews from Eagles
The Buffalo Bills have shaken up their roster with two separate trades, dealing starting receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and acquiring Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia
9:19PM ( 24 minutes ago )
Indians' Carrasco loses no-hit bid in 7th inning vs Rays
Carlos Carrasco of the Cleveland Indians has lost his no-hit bid in Tampa Bay on a two-out single in the seventh inning by Logan Morrison.
9:15PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: PGA Championship turns into a track meet
The Latest: Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson have spent the last two holes running to their ball after striking it in an effort to get the second round in before dark.
8:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
Competing as neutral athlete, Klishina of Russia gets silver
It's been quite a journey from last year's Olympics to this year's world championships for Russian long jumper Darya Klishina
8:09PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Matsuyama tied for PGA Championship lead
The Latest: Hideki Matsuyama shot 64 and moved into the share of the second round lead at the PGA Championship at 8 under.
7:50PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Packers ask NFL to review hits by Eagles that hurt 2 players
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team submitted videos to the NFL of hits by Philadelphia Eagles players that knocked out Green Bay's Malachi Dupre and Damarious Randall on separate plays
6:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott suspended 6 games in domestic case
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for six games after an NFL investigation of his domestic violence case out of Ohio
5:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
Bills trade Watkins to Rams; get Matthews from Eagles
The Buffalo Bills have shaken up their roster with two separate trades, dealing starting receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and acquiring Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia
5:38PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Peru expels Venezuela ambassador as pressure on Maduro grows
Peru's government has expelled Venezuela's ambassador as regional pressure builds on President Nicolas Maduro's government for allegedly trampling on the constitutional order
8:30PM ( 1 hour ago )
Snap stock hits lowest level since IPO after paltry earnings
Shares of Snap Inc. are down sharply following paltry earnings results
7:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump says he wasn't being serious in remarks about Putin
Trump says he was not being serious when he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering a drastic reduction in the number of U.S. diplomatic employees
6:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Dynamic debut: Garrett struts stuff as Browns beat Saints
Browns rookie Garrett has strong debut in 20-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.
12:48AM ( 20 hours ago )
Keenum leads Vikings to 17-10 preseason win over Bills
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater need not rush back from injury after Case Keenum showed glimpses of being a capable backup in the Minnesota Vikings' 17-10 preseason-opening win over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night
11:52PM ( 21 hours ago )
Garrett struts stuff in debut as Browns beat Saints 20-14
Browns rookie Garrett has strong debut in 20-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.
11:21PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Federer, Canadian teen Shapovalov reach semis in Montreal
Roger Federer advanced to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup and was joined later by Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov
9:37PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Indians' Carrasco loses no-hit bid in 7th inning vs Rays
Carlos Carrasco of the Cleveland Indians has lost his no-hit bid in Tampa Bay on a two-out single in the seventh inning by Logan Morrison.
9:15PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Matsuyama, Kisner tied for lead at PGA Championship
Matsuyama, Kisner tied for PGA Championship lead as rain makes Quail Hollow more forgiving
9:11PM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: Maduro ally calls Trump talk 'craziness'
Venezuela's Defense Minister is calling President Donald Trump's talk of a military intervention an act of "craziness" and "supreme extremism."
9:10PM ( 33 minutes ago )
Judge tosses DJ's suit against Taylor Swift in groping trial
A judge has thrown out a Denver radio host's case against Taylor Swift in their dueling lawsuits over whether he groped her during a backstage meet-and-greet and whether she and her team ruined his career
9:00PM ( 44 minutes ago )