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.