Wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ronald Darby were sent packing in two separate trades within minutes of each other, and it left the Bills with a collective, wide-eyed look as they convened for a short practice. There were just 26 wide receivers who saw at least a 20 percent share of their teams targets a year ago, and with the company surrounding Matthews, it's hard to say he'd even get that. He's a pretty tough wide receiver. The company? Evans and Odell Beckham - notably drafted behind Watkins in 2014 - plus Randy Moss, A.J. Green, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins. He intercepted two passes as a rookie with the Bills and started 14 games in 2016, logging 69 tackles and deflecting 12 passes. Now L.A. has their No. 1 and 2 receivers from last season, granted Watkins only played eight games previous year as he dealt with injuries. If Watkins doesn't stay healthy, this move could hurt in the long run. But he came back a year ago to start 10 games for the Rams.
Matthews has been a highly productive player since being selected 42nd overall in 2014. Woods, Watkins and Austin is a more interesting mix at the receiver position than the Rams has a year ago, should present more opportunities for the Ram's quarterback to make big plays, and should open up the field for Gurley. QB Tyrod Taylor will have to rely more than ever on McCoy in the offense in the early going as he starts to build a new rapport with the incoming Jordan Matthews.
If McVay can get Gurley and the ground game on track for the Rams, that will open more doors for Goff than Macy's does at midnight on Black Friday. As players and coaches, they coach and we play. Maybe he'll improve another season removed from the ailment, but if the Bills want to deal away a receiver with foot problems, it's an odd move to swap your best cornerback for one with foot problems of his own.
Bringing in Watkins also gives Goff another experienced receiver to go with Woods and Tavon Austin, who has been limited in training camp with a hamstring injury.
The Bills quickly filled the Watkins void for their top receiver, however.
Because, as the numbers show, it won't be. He's also entering a contract year, but the Bills additionally scored a third-rounder, giving them multiple picks in the first three rounds. That's a nice little setup they have going on there.
While the Bills have a roster that should be able to compete in 2017, Beane is clearly building toward the future in Buffalo.
Both Matthews and Gaines will likely have starting roles with the Bills, and they have four weeks to get acclimated with the Bills' systems before the team faces the New York Jets in Week One on September 10.