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Bills won’t pick up the option on Sammy Watkins

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The Bills have taken another step toward clearing the decks of previous mistakes.

The Bills announced they will not pick up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Sammy Watkins‘ contract.

He’s still under contract for 2017, and they can always franchise tag him after the season if he returns to health and the kind of form they anticipated.

Watkins is coming off his latest foot surgery, and hasn’t been well enough to be a steady contributor, much less to put the team on the hook for an injury guarantee. The option would have paid him $13.2 million in 2018.

The Bills traded future first- and fourth-round picks to draft move up five spots to take Watkins fourth overall in the 2014.

Since then, he’s played 37 games in three seasons, putting up solid but not spectacular numbers.

Had the Bills sat tight with the ninth pick, they could have drafted Odell Beckham Jr. or Aaron Donald (or any number of players), and held onto their own first-rounder in 2015.

Decisions like that are part of the reason Doug Whaley is now their former General Manager.

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58 Responses to “Bills won’t pick up the option on Sammy Watkins”
  1. Longfellow Deeds says: May 2, 2017 3:15 PM

    This minor league franchise continues to swing and miss on everything, welcome to Canada in a few years

  2. bobthebillsfan says: May 2, 2017 3:15 PM

    Not in a good mood today. Just watch, he’ll become a Patriot after the end of this year and excel.

  3. todd6162 says: May 2, 2017 3:18 PM

    I still remember Russ Brandon standing up and clapping over that pick SMH!!

  4. ovaw8lova says: May 2, 2017 3:19 PM

    Can’t blame them at all.

  5. waynefontesismyfather says: May 2, 2017 3:22 PM

    Jeeze, mark this down, kudos from waynefontesismyfather in regard to Buffalo making a smart move for a change. Watkins is a bust, he should have been shown the door with Whaley and the gang.

  6. corkspop says: May 2, 2017 3:24 PM

    How soon some forget: More than one draft “expert” claimed that Watkins was top-5 talent and a few even said he’s worth the first pick in the whole draft. There was no indication that serious foot problems and surgeries were in his future.

  7. Slow Joe (Bucs fan) says: May 2, 2017 3:24 PM

    To be fair, he hasn’t shown that he’s not a spectacular talent. He just hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

    And, he’s had Buffalo Bills QBs throwing the ball to him.

  8. newenglandcheetahs says: May 2, 2017 3:25 PM

    People forget that Wilson died – Whaley was the GM and had no clue who was coming in next – he gambled – kinda paid off – Sammy just soft – or they never let him heal right last summer –

  9. donl517 says: May 2, 2017 3:25 PM

    I was really hoping the Lions would have drafted him. Thank you Bills!!! Good Job!!!

  10. nathanp2013 says: May 2, 2017 3:26 PM

    Might as well trade him now and get some value out of the pick.

  11. drunkraider says: May 2, 2017 3:26 PM

    man if he could get rid of the injury bug he could be a beast. especially if he got a real QB.

  12. sceaglesfan says: May 2, 2017 3:27 PM

    extremely talented young man but injuries can derail any career. Still not worth the trade up at the time though.

  13. remstar10 says: May 2, 2017 3:28 PM

    Hind sight 20/20 about Aaron Donald and Odell….

  14. tonebones says: May 2, 2017 3:35 PM

    Stud if healthy.

  15. taeh324 says: May 2, 2017 3:37 PM

    If I’m Sammy Watkins I’m excited to not get the tag applied. Now watch he have a good pro-bowl type season then leave for the money

  16. minnesotamuggs says: May 2, 2017 3:39 PM

    I don’t know if I’m on board with calling him a mistake. He’s proven to be a pretty good receiver when he’s completely healthy; I understand that’s rarely ever the circumstance, though.

  17. beavertonsteve says: May 2, 2017 3:43 PM

    Compare Watkins first three seasons to Julio Jones, who also had a nagging foot injury. They have virtually the same numbers to start their careers.

  18. billswillnevermove says: May 2, 2017 3:49 PM

    This doesn’t mean squat. They can franchise him and sign him long term.

  19. donbat67 says: May 2, 2017 3:49 PM

    Auction them off and move the team .

  20. kingfoles says: May 2, 2017 3:51 PM

    Definitely the receivers fault, not the quarterback.

  21. bueller101 says: May 2, 2017 3:51 PM

    Watkins seemed like such a sure thing coming out of college. Probably the injuries, maybe the coaching.

  22. walker1191 says: May 2, 2017 3:52 PM

    bobthebillsfan says:
    May 2, 2017 3:15 PM

    Not in a good mood today. Just watch, he’ll become a Patriot after the end of this year and excel.
    ————————————————————-
    Entirely possible, likely even.

  23. exinsidetrader says: May 2, 2017 3:53 PM

    How does Russ Brandon have a job?

  24. ramit1 says: May 2, 2017 3:53 PM

    It could be a situation where everyone wins. Sammy could go somewhere that has no or less dysfunction, get paid and win. And the Bills can continue being the Bills and doing that thing they have been doing for the last 17 straight years, rebuilding.

  25. honalulublue says: May 2, 2017 3:54 PM

    Watkins was a stud coming out. Only an idiot would knock that pick. There are no sure things in the draft, as injury and transition obstacles are real things.

  26. jonathankrobinson424 says: May 2, 2017 3:55 PM

    Watkins is soft & injury prone. That never goes away….

  27. cowboyinpawleys says: May 2, 2017 3:56 PM

    The bills and everyone else could have had Tom Brady 4 times before he was drafted back in the day. You can’t look back after the fact.

    The question is was it a logical move at the time they made it with the info that they had and what were the odds of him being there had they not moved up.

    My guess is they liked him a lot and they went and got him. Most would say they did the right thing. Too bad he could not stay healthy and they don’t have a QB that can throw a football.

  28. valentino8100 says: May 2, 2017 3:56 PM

    If the Bills are going to insist on serving as NE’s AAA club, they could at least monitor the amount of work the players are seeing. We expected Watkins to be ready but thanks to poor management, he’s an injury concern. 😉

  29. brownstain says: May 2, 2017 4:05 PM

    And the guy he made the deal with used that pick on the soon to be out of the NFL Cameron Irving.

  30. truthdispensary says: May 2, 2017 4:20 PM

    They will almost certainly regret that decision.

  31. jkossrt says: May 2, 2017 4:21 PM

    Watkins reminds me of the Jadevon Clowney situation. Clowney was injured and had surgery his first two years, but has all the potential in the world. Last year he was healthy and he proved to be a beast. I think we should give Sammy the benefit of the doubt and hope he stays healthy this year. I believe he can be among the NFL’s best if he does.

  32. elrock7 says: May 2, 2017 4:28 PM

    when they traded up, I thought it was for Khalil Mack.

  33. maestro1899 says: May 2, 2017 4:32 PM

    The mistake was trading up for Watkins, not Watkins himself.

    The mistake has now been further compounded by not picking up his fifth-year option. You already gave the massive draft capital to get him. You should keep him.

  34. wib22 says: May 2, 2017 4:34 PM

    future cheating patriot

  35. BigBagOfMoney says: May 2, 2017 4:36 PM

    bobthebillsfan says:
    May 2, 2017 3:15 PM
    Not in a good mood today. Just watch, he’ll become a Patriot after the end of this year and excel.

    ———————
    Actually I doubt it. Some team is going to throw an overpay bid at him and the Patriots will just turn away. (And win a SB with some other guy any of us have yet to hear of)

  36. badmoonrison says: May 2, 2017 4:41 PM

    Sammy Watkins aka Glass joe.

  37. badmoonrison says: May 2, 2017 4:43 PM

    Sammy Watkins aka glass joe

  38. beachsidejames says: May 2, 2017 4:44 PM

    Blaming Whaley for Watkins catching the injuries bug is all wrong. Whaley needed to go for sure but with Watkins hurt all the time its hard to predict. He still could be a great receiver.

  39. 6thsense10 says: May 2, 2017 4:48 PM

    The talent is there but the injuries are too much of a concern. I can’t criticize the Bills for a wait and see approach.

  40. milkmandanimal says: May 2, 2017 4:57 PM

    Sammy Watkins was utterly terrifying in college, and, as a Bucs fan, I was disappointed we got Mike Evans instead. In retrospect, yeah, couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out, but, at the time, everybody thought Sammy Watkins was an amazing WR prospect.

    Injuries suck, but I don’t recall Watkins having any injury history in college. Stuff happens sometimes.

  41. harrisonhits2 says: May 2, 2017 5:03 PM

    “Just watch, he’ll become a Patriot after the end of this year and excel.”

    Don’t feel bad Bob. If Cooks works out I doubt very much the Pats will want Watkins.

    “If I’m Sammy Watkins I’m excited to not get the tag applied. Now watch he have a good pro-bowl type season then leave for the money”

    Uh, guess you don’t realize this decision has absolutely nothing to do with applying the tag. They didn’t pick up his 5th year option for 2018, but can still apply the franchise tag next off season if they want to.

  42. war27 says: May 2, 2017 5:15 PM

    Injury aside how does anyone expect this guy to be any good when you have c-list QB’s throwing the ball.

    EJ Manuel
    Kyle Orton
    Tyrod Taylor

    That’s all he’s known. When Kyle Orton is the best QB this guy has played with as a pro how can you have a real evaluation of what he can do? Not picking up the option is best for Walkins, not for the Bills.

  43. laukkanen5 says: May 2, 2017 5:22 PM

    yet he would still be the Browns number 1 wr, by miles and miles

  44. war27 says: May 2, 2017 5:23 PM

    billswillnevermove says:
    May 2, 2017 3:49 PM
    This doesn’t mean squat. They can franchise him and sign him long term.

    ——————————–

    It means a lot. It means the Bills wont pay him 13.2 million but under your plan 16+ million with the tag would be no problem along with a long term deal?

    The option is the best deal for the teams, and the Bills declined. Do you really think they declined so they could pay him more?

  45. gah05 says: May 2, 2017 5:27 PM

    Smart move, let Watkins earn his keep, and need be franchise tag him in 2018.

  46. campcouch says: May 2, 2017 5:34 PM

    Drafting Player Y instead of X does not change the other dynamics of the team. You’d need multiple changes in other personnel decisions to change the outcome. Having Beckham doesn’t give you a new QB, O-line or coach, heck even the Giants aren’t dominating the league with him. Insert whoever you want into Watkins’ slot and your results are the same.

  47. joma1969 says: May 2, 2017 5:36 PM

    “Watkins seemed like such a sure thing coming out of college. Probably the injuries, maybe the coaching.”

    Mediocre or worse QBs don’t help his cause any either…

    “Watkins was a stud coming out. Only an idiot would knock that pick.”

    The pick itself or trading up to make the pick? Because trading up with no QB to throw him the ball in a deep WR draft…yeah, that wasn’t very smart.

  48. billswillnevermove says: May 2, 2017 6:54 PM

    war27 says:
    May 2, 2017 5:23 PM
    billswillnevermove says:
    May 2, 2017 3:49 PM
    This doesn’t mean squat. They can franchise him and sign him long term.

    ——————————–

    It means a lot. It means the Bills wont pay him 13.2 million but under your plan 16+ million with the tag would be no problem along with a long term deal?

    The option is the best deal for the teams, and the Bills declined. Do you really think they declined so they could pay him more?
    ______________________________________
    It does not mean a lot at all my friend. Not much difference in 3 million dollars. Lets say he doesn’t play next year? Pretty smart by the Bills. If he has a great year, 3 million is not that big a deal. I disagree with you. They can still work out a deal.

  49. newmancave2016 says: May 2, 2017 6:57 PM

    Plenty of blame for Whaley to go around, but this isn’t one of his mistakes that anyone foresaw. Watkins was a surefire beast of a pick. He’s just been injured and hasn’t lived up to his potential. There are tons of reasons, from luck to playing on a crap team with crap QB’s.

  50. npadln says: May 2, 2017 7:22 PM

    billswillnevermove says:
    May 2, 2017 3:49 PM
    This doesn’t mean squat. They can franchise him and sign him long term.
    **********************************************************
    So if he has a good season they will franchise him… but if he has the type of good season were talking about him having that franchise is going to include a pretty hefty sum of money for Sammy and then that is no guarantee that he stays the following year. On the other hand if he doesn’t have a “good” year he won’t be franchised and then gets to test the market (and you know he’s jumping at the chance to get out of Buffalo by then) and there is nothing Buffalo will be able to do about it then.

  51. joma1969 says: May 2, 2017 7:44 PM

    “Not much difference in 3 million dollars.”

    Yet they didn’t bring Gillislee back for a 2 mil difference.

  52. raidercode says: May 2, 2017 7:45 PM

    Not only did they trade up to 4 to pick a bust, they passed on 2016 DPOY and future Hall of Famer Khalil Mack who went the very next pick. Oh and he played college at Univ of Buffalo. Thank God they’re that bad…

  53. billswillnevermove says: May 2, 2017 7:47 PM

    joma1969 says:
    May 2, 2017 7:44 PM
    “Not much difference in 3 million dollars.”

    Yet they didn’t bring Gillislee back for a 2 mil difference.
    ________________________________________
    Yeah, and they got Gillislee off the street corner, not the same difference with Watkins.

  54. jmethane says: May 2, 2017 8:43 PM

    Doesn’t a WR need a QB to throw him the ball?

    I admit I know nothing about him as a player but if someone just tells me stats of a WR to define his play I immediately think who his QB is.

    If it’s Brady or Rogers or someone then ok obviously the WR is an issue but if it’s a QB that gets released because he’s not seen as valuable then I have to question if those WR stats are valid.

    Bottom line is he can still potentially be a star with a good QB, we don’t know if he can be a star or not based on the QB’s he’s played with.

  55. vanquish77 says: May 2, 2017 9:32 PM

    No way they could foresee the injuries. He was solid before he started getting hurt. Maybe if they had better players around him that wouldn’t even have happened.

  56. bill14224 says: May 2, 2017 10:12 PM

    Watch and see. Sammy will go to another team and do better than he did in Buffalo, which has been the pattern since Kelly retired.

  57. pooflingingmonkey says: May 2, 2017 10:54 PM

    Buffalo is to professional football as Greyhound Bus is to first class travel.

  58. billybone says: May 3, 2017 1:38 AM

    17 years since the Bills have made the playoffs?? Hope my research is poor and a joke. If so, Sammy is the least of their worries. How is that even possible when they are constantly picking top 10?

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