BUFFALO, N.Y. (CBS Sports) The Buffalo Bills sent No. 1 wide receiver and former No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 draft Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams along with a 2018 sixth-round pick, and received cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick in return.
The Bills announced the trade of the former South Fort Myers High School star via its official Twitter account.
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
Watkins, 24, has exceled for the Bills whenever he’s been healthy on the field, but has struggled the last two years with injuries to his foot. The Bills declined to pick up his fifth-year option earlier this offseason, fueling speculation that he might be moved by the team’s new management. Those rumors have now come to fruition.
Watkins immediately becomes the highest-upside wide receiver on the Rams, who also acquired former Bills wideout Robert Woods as a free agent earlier this offseason. He will likely slide right in as Jared Goff’s No. 1 wideout as he attempts to rebound from his miserable rookie season.
The moves were made day after Buffalo opened its preseason with a 17-10 loss to Minnesota. The shakeup continues an offseason overhaul under new coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane.The moves were made day after Buffalo opened its preseason with a 17-10 loss to Minnesota. The shakeup continues an offseason overhaul under new coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane.
The Rams need playmakers for an offense that finished last in the NFL over the past two seasons. Watkins can be that type of dynamic threat when healthy.
Watkins had been the Bills starter since Buffalo traded up five spots in the 2014 draft to select him with the No. 4 pick. He has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons, but topped 1,000 yards just once, in 2015.
He’s been hampered by an assortment of injuries and limited to playing just eight games last year after having surgery to repair a broken left foot. Watkins required a second operation in January after aggravating the injury last season.
In Los Angeles, Watkins is reunited with the Rams new coach Anthony Lynn, who spent the previous two seasons in Buffalo. Lynn started as the Bills receivers coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator last year and finished the season as the team’s interim coach after Rex Ryan was fired a week before the final game.
Watkins is also reunited with former Bills starter Robert Woods, who signed with the Rams in free agency after four seasons in Buffalo.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.