Rams started pursuit of Watkins when Bills didn’t exercise fifth-year option

AP

The trade that brought receiver Sammy Watkins to the Rams was more than three months in the making.

In an interview that will be included within Thursday’s PFT Live, Rams G.M. Les Snead explained how the team first became interested in Watkins.

“I think he landed on the radar screen when the Bills’ organization didn’t put the fifth-year option on him back in the spring,” Snead said. “At that point you can sense, OK, maybe they’re not satisfied. Maybe there’s a question mark or two because they didn’t do the fifth-year option. So to be honest with you, I probably made the first call within that week. From there it probably was a summer’s worth of calls to try to get this thing done. It was finally consummated on Friday.”

The discussions continued until last week, with talks at the “98-percent range” as the preseason opener for the Bills approached. But it still wasn’t done until after Buffalo’s preseason opener.

“I believe probably the night before their game we had discussed that, ‘Hey, if something gets done, it’ll be first thing in the morning after their game,'” Snead said. “I remember we had the Bills game up on the iPhone app or something watching the first quarter. Of course we got to see Sammy make those four catches. So two things go through your mind. Number one is, look, it’s good to see Sammy playing and healthy. Number two is, hey, he just had a relatively decently big game so this thing may or may not get done.”

But the Bills still went through with it, and while the deal was pending Snead didn’t know that the Bills were also talking about a trade with the Eagles. (The Eagles also didn’t know the Bills were talking about a trade with the Rams.)

Snead made it clear that the interest in Watkins traces directly to the offensive preferences of the team’s new head coach.

“I think it all started really with the hiring of Sean McVay and he’s got a system, he’s got an offensive philosophy,” Snead said. “He tries to keep it simple but at the end of the day he likes to attack people  in the passing game and he likes to do it with the running back, the tight ends, and all the different genres and flavors of wide receivers. And the one flavor after free agency, after the draft, was the flavor we were really missing was going to be somebody that is going to threaten you down the field which would then open up, let’s call it the intermediate, the short, and even the running game lanes that we haven’t had in the last couple years. So we felt like that was a missing piece that we needed. It was a perfect complement for what we added and we’re gonna go from there.”

Basically, then, Watkins will be the DeSean Jackson in McVay’s offense with the Rams. If they can get Watkins up to speed.

“‘[I]t seems like baseball trades are slightly easier to fit someone in,” Snead said. “If you trade for a pitcher he comes right in and starts the next few days. Where in football there is a system. It’s very systematic. And bringing in Sammy at this point in time is probably the toughest time to bring him in because Sean and his staff have installed the entire offense now twice. So we’re at this stage over these next two weeks  in preseason where it’s probably the hardest on the players because every play in the playbook is open game.”

For Watkins, the playbook is still a new challenge to be digested and conquered. And he’s trying to get comfortable with new coaches and teammates. And he’s in a contract year. Which means that a lot need to get accomplished, in not very much time.

18 responses to “Rams started pursuit of Watkins when Bills didn’t exercise fifth-year option

  1. Relatively big game in the preseason is like a jackpot on a slot machine that was 20 bucks.

    Sammy can’t stay healthy. When he did, he scared the hell out of me as a patriots fan because his talent is unbelievable. Hopefully things work out for him

  2. I can see Jarred Goff having another bad year and being a bust, and Watkins will leave, with the Rams looking worse than ever.

  3. Bills did well to unload a player they had lost confidence in, would not make a difference in terms of playoff contention (since that’s a long long shot this season) and who obviously was not going to re-sign next year. So they got something in return for him rather than letting him fly (which is what usually happened under the old regime). The Rams took a bigger risk, Sammy might be the star player LA needs, or his foot might literally snap off his leg 6 games into the season. Probably the latter based on experience. And I do mean “literally.”

  4. Looks like a worthwhile risk for the Rams. There are health issues but Watkins didn’t cost them too much. Bills will be fine without him. Maybe even better if their best receiver can play all 16 games.

  5. Good move for both teams , Bills get a good pick and a good player , Rams get a deep threat they need and haven’t had in many years . The Rams will cut Tavon Austin and Give his cash to Watkins . The Rams will need to sign Big stud Donald but he will have to wait until the season ends as they will let Tru Johnson walk and give that cash to the big man .

  6. “Bills will be fine without him. Maybe even better if their best receiver can play all 16 games.”

    What the guy they traded for and got immediately injured for, that best receiver? Believe he’s supposed to be back by game 1 of regular season but that’s not great for the Bills.

  7. The Bills aren’t going to be good this year, maybe 5 wins at best…new regime is doing it right, get all the assets they can as they have 2-1sts 2-2nds and 2-3rds plus if they play it right they will get a compensatory 3rd for the loss of Gilmore. They will draft their QB even if they have to overpay to move into position to do it in the draft. Beane and Mcdermott have a plan, more then I can say for the last 4 or 5 regimes lol wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more players shipped out before the start of the season.

  8. says:
    August 16, 2017 at 4:57 pm
    Bills are usually not this smart.

    ——–

    Exactly. That’s why I think Watkins might turn it around

  9. Sammy Watkins is pretty, pretty, pretty good when healthy but anyone who thinks he won’t explode into a thousand littler Sammys when Mam Chancellor hits him is dreaming.

  10. So it looks like as of now the Bills will likely have a top 8 pick in the 1st round as well as KCs 1st rounder which should fall between 22-25. Then they’ll have two 2nd round picks in the 33-38 range with their own and the Rams plus a 3rd rounder at the 68-70 and another somewhere in the middle of the round. If they trade Reggie Ragland as expected, they may land yet another 3rd rounder or more. Throw in compensatory picks Beane will make sure to get and the 2018 draft will be just about ALL Buffalo.

    Yeah…well worth the trades!!

  11. Welcome to the division where you face Kam Chancellor twice a year. Ask ex 49er’s tight end Vernon Davis about Kam Chancellor. lol!

  12. “So it looks like as of now the Bills will likely have a top 8 pick in the 1st round as well as KCs 1st rounder which should fall between 22-25. Then they’ll have two 2nd round picks in the 33-38 range with their own and the Rams plus a 3rd rounder at the 68-70 and another somewhere in the middle of the round. If they trade Reggie Ragland as expected, they may land yet another 3rd rounder or more. Throw in compensatory picks Beane will make sure to get and the 2018 draft will be just about ALL Buffalo.”

    And if there’s a stud QB or two sitting at the top of the draft, the Bills will take all those picks and offer them up to the crap teams at 1 and 2 and then, and then, and then…..the crap teams will say no thanks, we sucked all year to get in position to take this stud QB. Maybe you could have been here if you unloaded McCoy and played Nathan Peterman instead of giving it your all to win 6 games. But hey, at least you have plenty of ammo to trade up for more players like Dion Dawkins and Zay Jones! You’ll be back to winning 7 or 8 games in no time! #Billsy

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