It was a busy day in Buffalo on Friday.
The Bills traded their number one receiver in Sammy Watkins and a 2018 sixth round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second round pick.
But that’s not all.
Buffalo immediately replaced Watkins with wide receiver Jordan Matthews via trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. This trade sends Matthews and a 2018 third round pick to the Bills, while emerging cornerback Ronald Darby is sent to Philly.
How Each Team Improved
Honestly, the Bills didn’t improve through these trades. However, their draft pilings are rather impressive. In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bills will have two first round picks, two second round picks and two third round picks.
Matthews is a downgrade from Watkins and Gaines is a downgrade from Darby, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be decent players. Matthews can prove himself to be a number one receiver in this league and Gaines has the chance to compete for the number one corner role.
The Bills’ improvement was their future, so they won’t see a return on these trades until the 2018 NFL Draft.
Los Angeles Rams
For starters, they have a legitimate number one receiver for sophomore quarterback Jared Goff. Watkins gives Goff a chance to redeem himself after a disappointing rookie campaign.
Though it might take time to develop chemistry between the two, both of these players can look to have more success than years prior.
The Eagles finally have themselves a decent cornerback in Ronald Darby. Darby can become a star cornerback with the help of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Although some Eagles fans might be upset in losing Jordan Matthews, their receiving corps is cluttered with the additions of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, fourth round pick Mack Hollins and fifth round pick Shelton Gibson. Also, 2015 first round pick Nelson Agholor has reportedly been impressing in training camp, making Matthews’ role more or less redundant.
Losers of these Trades
It has to be a tough day for Tyrod Taylor. He loses his number one receiver and although he gets another weapon in Matthews, Watkins and him have created a chemistry which helped the Bills succeed. Now, that chemistry is thrown out the window and Taylor must now rekindle that success with new receiver Jordan Matthews.
This season could have given struggling number one receiver Tavon Austin a resurgence, but with the addition of Sammy Watkins, his role will now be limited.
This might not be the worst thing for the offense, however, since Austin is not a prototypical number one receiver and Watkins’ larger frame and quick feet will be an asset.
Rasul Douglas/Sidney Jones/Jalen Mills
Prior to this trade, cornerbacks Rasul Douglas, Jalen Mills and the injured Sidney Jones had the ability to become the number one corner very early in their career. With the addition of Ronald Darby, the three players mentioned will be pushed back on the depth chart.
In conclusion, all three teams have something to look forward to. The Bills have a solid foundation for the future, the Rams have a weapon for QB Jared Goff and the Eagles have an emerging number one corner.
The team that benefits the most is Philly, since Matthews wasn’t contributing to this wide receiving corps and they got themselves a young corner in Darby.
The Rams have lots to look forward to in Sammy Watkins, but their secondary is quite weak now with the loss of E.J. Gaines.
Lastly, the Bills downgraded in skill with the two players they acquired compared to the two players they lost, but both Matthews and Gaines are serviceable and the acquisitions of draft picks gives Buffalo something to look forward to.