When Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor spoke to reporters on Thursday, he offered up some praise of receiver Sammy Watkins. Implicit in the positivity, however, was a sense that Watkins hasn’t always been a guy who does all the right things.
“The maturation process has definitely sped up for him,” Taylor said of Watkins, via video posted on the team’s official website. “He’s older in the league, he knows what it takes, he knows where he wants to get and he’s working towards that, even down to eating right and putting the right things in his body. His attention to detail each day has definitely been different than the years past that I’ve been around him. He’s always been a hard worker, but you can definitely tell that he’s out there with the right mindset and with the positive attitude, trying to help the guys that are around him.”
Lurking between the lines is the sentiment that the 2015 and 2016 versions of Sammy Watkins may not have been eating right or paying attention to detail or demonstrating the right mindset and a positive attitude. And that creates a potential dilemma for the Bills, if Watkins plays well enough this year to earn a long-term deal.
What happens after Watkins gets a huge contract? Will he be the guy he was in his contract year, or will he revert to a guy who isn’t pushing as hard as he recently has been pushing to maximize his talents? Before the Bills make a financial investment in Watkins that would be similar to the draft-pick investment they made three years ago, they need to be sure he’ll deliver on the back end.