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Report: Bills might not pick up Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option

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For the Bills, picking up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Sammy Watkins‘ rookie contract would seem like an obvious decision: The Bills invested two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick in a draft-day trade for Watkins, and he has developed into a good player and is still only 23 years old. That’s not the kind of player you want leaving your team after just four years.

But according to Sal Capaccio of WGR 550, the Bills might not pick up Watkins’ option after all: The team is still deciding and may take a couple weeks before making a final decision.

Although Capaccio still thinks the Bills will pick up the option, it’s apparently not a sure thing because of Watkins’ history of injuries. Fifth-year options are guaranteed for injuries, meaning that if Watkins suffered an injury in 2017 so serious that he couldn’t play at all in 2018, the Bills would still be on the hook for Watkins’ 2018 salary of $13 million. If the Bills don’t pick up Watkins’ option and he gets hurt this season, they don’t owe him a penny in 2018.

Watkins missed half of last season with a foot injury and has had two surgeries on the foot, so it’s easy to understand why the injury risk is a concern for the Bills. Still, it will be a major surprise if Buffalo doesn’t lock Watkins up through 2018.

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65 Responses to “Report: Bills might not pick up Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option”
  1. boknowsvt says: Apr 15, 2017 9:40 AM

    Letting him go would be such a Bills thing to do

  2. johnnnyschatzan says: Apr 15, 2017 9:41 AM

    All I read is that Doug Whaley needs to be fired.

  3. RandyinRoxbury says: Apr 15, 2017 9:42 AM

    Clap clap clap clap clap

  4. mcjon22 says: Apr 15, 2017 9:47 AM

    This would be such a Bills move

  5. NFLexpert says: Apr 15, 2017 9:53 AM

    The kid is a physical bust, move on Bills.

  6. gstewart400 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:01 AM

    And picking him up would be a very Patriots thing for them to do.

  7. billsfan says: Apr 15, 2017 10:09 AM

    “This would be such a Bills move”

    Drafting him at that cost, was “such a Bills (Whaley) move”.

    Over paid, and didn’t (still doesn’t) have someone to throw the ball to the high-priced WR.
    So, what will Whaley and the Bills do with the #10 pick, this year? Yep, draft another WR or TE, and STILL have no one, who can see them running free in the secondary or over the middle.

    High octane WRs and a QB who gets happy feet and runs at the first hint of pressure, instead of standing in the pocket and letting the play develop.
    Such a Bills scenario…

  8. 6ball says: Apr 15, 2017 10:10 AM

    In the redraft the Bills took University of Buffalo favorite Khalil Mack, Giants S Landon Collins and Patriots starting RG Shaq Mason instead of Watkins.

  9. jkossrt says: Apr 15, 2017 10:11 AM

    I know he’s been injured more than I would like. BUT, when he’s healthy he has shown he is among the best in the league. Letting him go would be a huge mistake. He would be another ex-Bill to go on and became a very good player for another team.

  10. walker1191 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:12 AM

    How many receivers can the Bills lose to New England? Sounds like we’re about to find out.

  11. joetoronto says: Apr 15, 2017 10:12 AM

    Yet another swing and a miss for the Billdo’s, this one cost two 1st round picks.

    Not just the usual 1.

  12. tylawspick6 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:13 AM

    he has been a bust, why would they?

    has he ever even played 2 games in a row?

    i remember i kept watching to see what people
    were all talking about with this kid, and he either
    never played or was invisible

  13. harrisonhits2 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:17 AM

    Given they just traded a first for Cooks I don’t see the Pats picking up Watkins if he is cut. Pats are loaded at receiver and have other needs.

  14. pastabelly says: Apr 15, 2017 10:18 AM

    He’s good, but not $13 million good.

  15. joebaronich says: Apr 15, 2017 10:18 AM

    Report: Bills fans, before you say the sky is falling, don’t believe everything you read.

    But definitely fire Whaley.

  16. george1859 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:24 AM

    The only sensible thing to learn from this situation is that
    Doug Whaley is intellectually deficient GM in the league.

    Not because he drafted Watkins, but rather he was the only person on the planet dumb enough to double down on EJ Manuel with the Watkins pick.

  17. gah05 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:26 AM

    Best is yet to come, sign him!

  18. Bob Todd says: Apr 15, 2017 10:34 AM

    Great pick-up for New England.

  19. edavidberg says: Apr 15, 2017 10:35 AM

    5th year options aren’t cheap, esp for top 5 picks. It would be for $13.28 million.

    It all depends on what their doctors say about his odds of reinjury. But you’d have to hope someone so young could recover from a broken foot so that risk shouldn’t be that significant.

  20. edavidberg says: Apr 15, 2017 10:37 AM

    Kind of amazing Whaley not only still has a job but just got an extension next year.

  21. exinsidetrader says: Apr 15, 2017 10:41 AM

    The Bills have a dumb GM (listen to him).

    They would be better off grabbing an intern from the Patriots to be their GM. At least he has seen up close what it takes to build a consistent winner.

  22. dumbpollack says: Apr 15, 2017 10:46 AM

    I wouldn’t either

  23. learysdisciples says: Apr 15, 2017 11:00 AM

    They might pick it up,too. You just never know.

  24. wahoo21 says: Apr 15, 2017 11:00 AM

    He will play in less than 6 games this year.

    Foot injuries end careers and if you pick up the option all you did was give him a nice final check going out the door

  25. piratefreedom says: Apr 15, 2017 11:02 AM

    You can’t compensate for a substandard QB by spending big on receivers.

  26. tylawspick6 says: Apr 15, 2017 11:05 AM

    an absolute bust

  27. mrboado says: Apr 15, 2017 11:19 AM

    The Bills gave way to much when the obtained him in the draft. From a dollars and sense standpoint, trading him for a 2nd (unlikely) or 3rd would be a good move until the QB situation was rectified.

    Rectified from being rex-ified.

    (Sorry, had to say it. Not all the problems in Buffalo were Ryan’s fault, but bringing in his brother seemed only to highlight his failings.)

    Regardless, Sammy’s salary is within the Bills’ top ten most expensive contracts. Whaley should seek a trading partner with WR-needy team like Cleveland, Tennessee, Baltimore, or what I think may be the best move, Philadelphia.

    Wentz to Watkins. And based on his history, at least for a few games out of the season.

  28. whodey420 says: Apr 15, 2017 11:26 AM

    I’m not even impressed when he’s healthy. All I heard at draft time was the comparisons to AJ Green and Julio Jones. Watkins couldn’t carry either ones jock strap with a fork lift. :/

  29. pftisthebestsiteeverlol says: Apr 15, 2017 11:33 AM

    not surprising. hes not really that good.

  30. donbat67 says: Apr 15, 2017 11:51 AM

    He’s always hurt .

  31. waynefontesismyfather says: Apr 15, 2017 11:54 AM

    There was talk of Detroit taking him and paring him up with Calvin. Thank heavens we dodged that bullet.

  32. gah05 says: Apr 15, 2017 11:54 AM

    Anybody who questions Watkins’ talent on the field when healthy obviously has never watched him play. He is dominating even with less than average QB’s. Health is the issue, not talent.

  33. jclark6528 says: Apr 15, 2017 12:05 PM

    If Bradley Roby had not missed the 2014 Orange Bowl, this guy would not have been over drafted the way he was….LOL. He had a huge game against an OSU team missing its top 2 DB’s…..and all of a sudden was the next coming.

  34. thirdand43 says: Apr 15, 2017 12:08 PM

    Bills are moving precariously into Browns country.

  35. billswillnevermove says: Apr 15, 2017 12:21 PM

    tylawspick6 says:
    Apr 15, 2017 11:05 AM

    an absolute bust
    And you have the IQ of a stump if you think he is a bust. Look up his numbers.

  36. westcoastbillsfan says: Apr 15, 2017 12:25 PM

    I’ve lost count the number of times this phrase has been written or uttered…”why is Whaley still employed by the Bills as GM?” –he’s such a disaster.

  37. badoglick says: Apr 15, 2017 12:35 PM

    I honestly wouldn’t pick it up. Two quotes that I am probably misquoting:
    ‘One of the most important abilities in sports is availability’
    ‘Just because you spent a lot of time making a mistake doesn’t mean you should continue making that mistake’.

    Cut bait, put the 13 mil elsewhere on a more dependable. Like an ex girlfriend who showed promise but ultimately doesn’t work out with you, if they find success elsewhere,
    wish them the best and move on.

  38. timmyp716 says: Apr 15, 2017 12:37 PM

    Wow….just wow. On a side note to Pats fans, you dont want him either, he cant catch over the middle in traffic. He gives up when defenders are close to him before making a catch.

  39. ampatsisahypocrite says: Apr 15, 2017 12:40 PM

    Not even the best WR drafted out of his school that year, let alone elite.

  40. rjth2012 says: Apr 15, 2017 12:41 PM

    Sammy Watkins is good to very good and occasionally great ! Injuries and playing through them is a HUGE part of playing in The NFL.
    Maybe this is The Bills way of letting the rest of league know that you can trade for him…
    Is he worth a 2nd? Who knows! But remember he hasn’t played with the same QB or even a good QB in my opinion. As a fan from another team I would make any offer contingent on a physical. You would get him for 2 years. That is a risk worth taking if he can stay on the field for 12 to 13 games a year.

  41. billsfan says: Apr 15, 2017 12:51 PM

    Health is the issue, not talent.

    Well, without the health to play, you can’t use the talent. If the talent is not on the field, there is no talent. There has not been a day, this guy has been 100% healthy.
    A Ferrari with no (or bad ) wheels, doesn’t win any races. A lot of money taking up space in the garage.

  42. bills72284 says: Apr 15, 2017 12:51 PM

    Sammy is a weird looking person

  43. subprimeloansco says: Apr 15, 2017 1:18 PM

    Let’s let all our WR’s go and just have some rookie running back play quarterback and rush on every down, as we watch Watkins and the Patriots win another Super Bowl.

  44. subprimeloansco says: Apr 15, 2017 1:19 PM

    Let’s let every WR go and just have some rookie running back play quarterback and rush on every down, as we watch Watkins and the Patriots win another Super Bowl.

  45. EJ says: Apr 15, 2017 2:27 PM

    The ‘Hype’ was not overrated.
    We have seen first hand just how amazing an athlete Watkins truly is….
    He has dominated some of the best corners & safeties the league has, including Revis.
    Yes, he has dealt with injuries, most players do, but Watkins issue was a nagging injury that was put off, which made it worse. Hopefully now that the surgery is over and he has had time to rest the issues will be in the past. Sammy Watkins has the talent to become one of the better receivers in the game. I’m excited to see what he will bring to the field in his third season with the same Quarterback.

  46. NFLexpert says: Apr 15, 2017 2:50 PM

    Too bad Rex didn’t massage his feet…

  47. gjv001 says: Apr 15, 2017 2:56 PM

    This speculation is a lot of nonsense. The Bills are going to exercise Watkins fifth year option.

  48. garyeyee says: Apr 15, 2017 3:05 PM

    Most WRs can run fast and catch….Just need a QB to get them the ball! (ie) Hogan… Let Watkins go ! Not worth the money.

  49. andymannfl says: Apr 15, 2017 3:17 PM

    Without Rex around for foot inspections this will be a tough call.

  50. badmoonrison says: Apr 15, 2017 4:40 PM

    Buffalo still has a franchise?

  51. whodat5150 says: Apr 15, 2017 4:55 PM

    Some might say this kid is overrated or a bust but that MIGHT not be the case. Sammy Watkins’ biggest problem is he can’t stay healthy and if that doesn’t change, we may never see his full potential. In my opinion, players shouldn’t be considered a bust or overrated if they can’t stay healthy to actually show they’re capabilities. Cade McNown, Scott Mitchell, Joey Harrington, Jay Cutler, Curtis Ennis and Alvin Harper are just a few that fans CAN label as overrated and/or busts. Fans expected big things from them, they were healthy, had decent talent around them and they never quite fulfilled those expectations. Alvin Harper LOOKED solid when he was playing opposite Michael Irvin. But it didn’t take TB long to realize they’d make a huge mistake in paying him to be a #1 receiver.

  52. jchemengr says: Apr 15, 2017 5:56 PM

    They still have him under contract for 2017 and can sign him to an extension at any time. The right to hold onto Watkins for another year at a cost a $13 million seems a pretty close call to me. If he stays healthy and has a Pro Bowl year, they can franchise him for $16 ish million for 2018

  53. walker1191 says: Apr 15, 2017 6:36 PM

    jchemengr says:
    Apr 15, 2017 5:56 PM

    If he stays healthy and has a Pro Bowl year, they can franchise him for $16 ish million for 2018
    The Bills could also win the next 2 SBs in a row, but we all know that isn’t happening either.

  54. holyfrickinwah says: Apr 15, 2017 6:54 PM

    Its crazy he will only be 24 years old come June as he has the injury history of a 30 year old. Would love to see what they could do to keep him on the field for even 14 games but it just seems impossible to keep him healthy. Too bad.

  55. nhpats says: Apr 15, 2017 7:18 PM

    The smart thing to do would be to re-work his contract into a long-term extension now that is cheaper than $13m per year. Of course that is why the Bills won’t do it.

  56. Uncle Al says: Apr 15, 2017 7:55 PM

    This franchise is a complete joke

  57. therealraider says: Apr 15, 2017 8:21 PM

    Why doesnt every team wait until the last possible day to excersize the option? Anything can happen in an instant that could change a franchise’s decision.

  58. justtherealfacts says: Apr 15, 2017 8:33 PM

    stick him on the steelers , pats, saints, packers or colts and he will be a hall of famer when all said and done.

    Luck of the draw for wide recievers, he got a 3rd string calibre qb throwing to him for his first 5 yrs.

  59. thebeeper says: Apr 15, 2017 8:38 PM

    Be smart Bills…. don’t pick up the option and if he plays and doesn’t get hurt and plays lights out, that’s all the Bills need to do is franchise him and that will buy time to negotiate a long term deal….. They will NEVER let him walk after investing 2 first round picks on him

  60. cover200 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:38 PM

    I don’t have a problem with Whaley. Fans are just looking for someone to blame. Just remember that if Rex had delivered on the defense that they would have made the playoffs.

  61. brett9990 says: Apr 15, 2017 10:47 PM

    Anyone saying the Patriots would be certain to pick him up if they don’t exercise the option haven’t been paying attention….BB doesn’t waste time on players that can’t stay on the field.

  62. TheDPR says: Apr 16, 2017 9:47 AM

    I don’t think you pick up the option at this time. You make him prove he can play at a high level for a complete 2017 season. If he can, you work on re-signing him. If not, let him go. I don’t think this is a difficult decision to make.

  63. jzmack says: Apr 16, 2017 10:16 AM

    consider the source. sal capaccio is a hack that spews insufferable drivel all the time that is often wrong. there is now way the bills don’t pick up the option as sammy was the only functioning target not named mccoy last year.

  64. corvuscrassirostris says: Apr 16, 2017 11:06 AM

    Martavis Bryant is still doing his laundry.

  65. Lisa_the_Greek says: Apr 17, 2017 7:04 PM

    piratefreedom says:
    Apr 15, 2017 11:02 AM

    You can’t compensate for a substandard QB by spending big on receivers.


    Sure you can… just ask the Eagles.

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