The Sammy Watkins Trade: A Tale of Two Teams

Sammy Watkins is headed to Hollywood. The super talented but oft-injured wide reciever was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Los Angeles Rams in a shocking transaction on Friday. The Bills traded Watkins and a 2018 sixth round pick to the Rams for cornerback EJ Gaines and a 2018 second round pick.

The Bills traded their first round pick in 2014 and first and fourth round picks in 2015 to move up five spots for Watkins in 2014. Watkins proved to be a very talented receiver, but Watkins has missed 11 games in his three year career.


To replace Watkins, the Bills made a trade with the Eagles to acquire receiver Jordan Matthews. Going into the 2018 draft, the Bills will have two first round picks, two second round picks, and two third round picks. It seems like the two trades the Bills made are setting them up for the future, and the team will take a step back this season.

From the Rams’ perspective, Watkins is a number one receiver and an excellent weapon for last year’s one overall pick Jared Goff. The Rams ranked dead last in offensive yards last season, a miserable 700 yards behind the next lowest team, and 2,613 yards behind the Saints who lead the NFL. In other words, the Rams offense was atrocious last year. More offensive firepower was absolutely needed, especially in LA where football isn’t the end all be all. The Rams are trying to establish a solid fan base after leaving St. Louis, and now that the Chargers are joining them in Los Angeles, there is even more of a reason to try to put together a fun football team.

The Rams now have a former number one overall pick starting at quarterback, an elite running back in Todd Gurley, and the talented Watkins at receiver. That’s a pretty solid offensive core, and then consider their youth. Watkins is the oldest of that group at 24, Gurley is 23, and Goff is 22. If Watkins and Gurley continue to improve, and Goff becomes a good QB, the Rams offense has a chance to be lethal in a couple of seasons.

While the Bills seem set on building their roster through the draft, the Rams are taking the opposite approach by trading a pick for a proven young talent. Neither of the Rams nor Bills figure to be a factor in the playoff race this season, but their two different approaches to team building will be interesting to watch going forward.

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