After giving up a bounty of picks to draft Sammy Watkins in 2014, the Bills are prepared to let him test free agency in 2018.
Buffalo is not expected to pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins’ rookie contract, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reports. That means Watkins becomes a free agent after the upcoming season.
Watkins is recovering from foot surgery, and fifth-year options are guaranteed for injury. So the decision not to pick up the option indicates that the Bills aren’t so sure Watkins will stay healthy, and they don’t want to give him the $13.3 million injury guarantee that comes with a fifth-year option.
It’s also worth noting that the news broke immediately after the Bills drafted receiver Zay Jones. Buffalo may think Jones makes Watkins expendable.
In any event, it’s a major disappointment for the Bills that they may get only four years out of Watkins after using two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick to move up and draft him three years ago. When you make a move like that, you think you’re going to draft a player who will change your franchise’s fortunes. Watkins, as talented as he is, hasn’t done that.