Blockbusters: Bills trade Watkins, Darby in separate deals

The Bills get WR Matthews, CB Gaines, and two draft picks

Sal Capaccio
August 11, 2017 - 1:24 pm

The Buffalo Bills made a pair of blockbuster trades Friday afternoon.

First, the team announced the trade of wide receiver Sammy Watkins and the Bills' 2018 sixth round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and the Rams' 2018 second round draft pick.

Almost simultaneously, Buffalo traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and the Eagles' 2018 third round pick.

Watkins was the team’s first round pick in 2014, but has dealt with several injuries, including a broken foot that caused him to miss eleven games over the past two seasons. The team declined to pickup the Clemson product’s fifth-year option in 2018, which means he will be a free agent after 2017.

Darby was selected in the second round in 2015 and selected to the NFL All-Rookie Team after that year.  He started fourteen games last season.

Gaines was a sixth round pick of the Rams in 2014, started 15 games his rookie year, collecting a pair of interceptions, and selected to the 2014 NFL All-Rookie Team. He missed all of 2015 with a foot injury, then started ten games last season.

Matthews was taken in the second round in the same 2014 draft as Watkins. He’s been very productive his first three years in the league, collecting 225 catches for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. His best season was 2015 when he caught 85 passes for 997 yards and eight touchdowns.

According to the website Spotrac, the Bills will still be responsible for $6 million in "dead money" for Watkins' contract and all totaled, the deal will cost them roughly $1.4 million in salary cap space for 2017.

Both players the Bills aquired are entering the final years of their deals, as is Watkins. Darby is under contract through 2018.

The Bills now have two picks in the first, second, and third rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.

General manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott are scheduled to address the media at roughly 4 p.m. this afternoon. We will carry those press conferences on WGR, and the WGR app.

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

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