Report: Bills might not pick up Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option

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For the Bills, picking up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Sammy Watkins’ rookie contract would seem like an obvious decision: The Bills invested two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick in a draft-day trade for Watkins, and he has developed into a good player and is still only 23 years old. That’s not the kind of player you want leaving your team after just four years.

But according to Sal Capaccio of WGR 550, the Bills might not pick up Watkins’ option after all: The team is still deciding and may take a couple weeks before making a final decision.

Although Capaccio still thinks the Bills will pick up the option, it’s apparently not a sure thing because of Watkins’ history of injuries. Fifth-year options are guaranteed for injuries, meaning that if Watkins suffered an injury in 2017 so serious that he couldn’t play at all in 2018, the Bills would still be on the hook for Watkins’ 2018 salary of $13 million. If the Bills don’t pick up Watkins’ option and he gets hurt this season, they don’t owe him a penny in 2018.

Watkins missed half of last season with a foot injury and has had two surgeries on the foot, so it’s easy to understand why the injury risk is a concern for the Bills. Still, it will be a major surprise if Buffalo doesn’t lock Watkins up through 2018.

65 responses to “Report: Bills might not pick up Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option

  1. “This would be such a Bills move”

    Drafting him at that cost, was “such a Bills (Whaley) move”.

    Over paid, and didn’t (still doesn’t) have someone to throw the ball to the high-priced WR.
    So, what will Whaley and the Bills do with the #10 pick, this year? Yep, draft another WR or TE, and STILL have no one, who can see them running free in the secondary or over the middle.

    High octane WRs and a QB who gets happy feet and runs at the first hint of pressure, instead of standing in the pocket and letting the play develop.
    Such a Bills scenario…

  2. .
    In the redraft the Bills took University of Buffalo favorite Khalil Mack, Giants S Landon Collins and Patriots starting RG Shaq Mason instead of Watkins.

  3. I know he’s been injured more than I would like. BUT, when he’s healthy he has shown he is among the best in the league. Letting him go would be a huge mistake. He would be another ex-Bill to go on and became a very good player for another team.

  4. Yet another swing and a miss for the Billdo’s, this one cost two 1st round picks.

    Not just the usual 1.

  5. he has been a bust, why would they?

    has he ever even played 2 games in a row?

    i remember i kept watching to see what people
    were all talking about with this kid, and he either
    never played or was invisible

  6. Given they just traded a first for Cooks I don’t see the Pats picking up Watkins if he is cut. Pats are loaded at receiver and have other needs.

  7. The only sensible thing to learn from this situation is that
    Doug Whaley is intellectually deficient GM in the league.

    Not because he drafted Watkins, but rather he was the only person on the planet dumb enough to double down on EJ Manuel with the Watkins pick.

  8. 5th year options aren’t cheap, esp for top 5 picks. It would be for $13.28 million.

    It all depends on what their doctors say about his odds of reinjury. But you’d have to hope someone so young could recover from a broken foot so that risk shouldn’t be that significant.

  9. The Bills have a dumb GM (listen to him).

    They would be better off grabbing an intern from the Patriots to be their GM. At least he has seen up close what it takes to build a consistent winner.

  10. He will play in less than 6 games this year.

    Foot injuries end careers and if you pick up the option all you did was give him a nice final check going out the door

  11. The Bills gave way to much when the obtained him in the draft. From a dollars and sense standpoint, trading him for a 2nd (unlikely) or 3rd would be a good move until the QB situation was rectified.

    Rectified from being rex-ified.

    (Sorry, had to say it. Not all the problems in Buffalo were Ryan’s fault, but bringing in his brother seemed only to highlight his failings.)

    Regardless, Sammy’s salary is within the Bills’ top ten most expensive contracts. Whaley should seek a trading partner with WR-needy team like Cleveland, Tennessee, Baltimore, or what I think may be the best move, Philadelphia.

    Wentz to Watkins. And based on his history, at least for a few games out of the season.

  12. I’m not even impressed when he’s healthy. All I heard at draft time was the comparisons to AJ Green and Julio Jones. Watkins couldn’t carry either ones jock strap with a fork lift. :/

  13. Anybody who questions Watkins’ talent on the field when healthy obviously has never watched him play. He is dominating even with less than average QB’s. Health is the issue, not talent.

  14. If Bradley Roby had not missed the 2014 Orange Bowl, this guy would not have been over drafted the way he was….LOL. He had a huge game against an OSU team missing its top 2 DB’s…..and all of a sudden was the next coming.

  15. I honestly wouldn’t pick it up. Two quotes that I am probably misquoting:
    ‘One of the most important abilities in sports is availability’
    ‘Just because you spent a lot of time making a mistake doesn’t mean you should continue making that mistake’.

    Cut bait, put the 13 mil elsewhere on a more dependable. Like an ex girlfriend who showed promise but ultimately doesn’t work out with you, if they find success elsewhere,
    wish them the best and move on.

  16. Wow….just wow. On a side note to Pats fans, you dont want him either, he cant catch over the middle in traffic. He gives up when defenders are close to him before making a catch.

  17. Sammy Watkins is good to very good and occasionally great ! Injuries and playing through them is a HUGE part of playing in The NFL.
    Maybe this is The Bills way of letting the rest of league know that you can trade for him…
    Is he worth a 2nd? Who knows! But remember he hasn’t played with the same QB or even a good QB in my opinion. As a fan from another team I would make any offer contingent on a physical. You would get him for 2 years. That is a risk worth taking if he can stay on the field for 12 to 13 games a year.

  18. Health is the issue, not talent.

    Well, without the health to play, you can’t use the talent. If the talent is not on the field, there is no talent. There has not been a day, this guy has been 100% healthy.
    A Ferrari with no (or bad ) wheels, doesn’t win any races. A lot of money taking up space in the garage.

  19. Let’s let all our WR’s go and just have some rookie running back play quarterback and rush on every down, as we watch Watkins and the Patriots win another Super Bowl.

  20. Let’s let every WR go and just have some rookie running back play quarterback and rush on every down, as we watch Watkins and the Patriots win another Super Bowl.

  21. The ‘Hype’ was not overrated.
    We have seen first hand just how amazing an athlete Watkins truly is….
    He has dominated some of the best corners & safeties the league has, including Revis.
    Yes, he has dealt with injuries, most players do, but Watkins issue was a nagging injury that was put off, which made it worse. Hopefully now that the surgery is over and he has had time to rest the issues will be in the past. Sammy Watkins has the talent to become one of the better receivers in the game. I’m excited to see what he will bring to the field in his third season with the same Quarterback.

  22. This speculation is a lot of nonsense. The Bills are going to exercise Watkins fifth year option.

  23. Some might say this kid is overrated or a bust but that MIGHT not be the case. Sammy Watkins’ biggest problem is he can’t stay healthy and if that doesn’t change, we may never see his full potential. In my opinion, players shouldn’t be considered a bust or overrated if they can’t stay healthy to actually show they’re capabilities. Cade McNown, Scott Mitchell, Joey Harrington, Jay Cutler, Curtis Ennis and Alvin Harper are just a few that fans CAN label as overrated and/or busts. Fans expected big things from them, they were healthy, had decent talent around them and they never quite fulfilled those expectations. Alvin Harper LOOKED solid when he was playing opposite Michael Irvin. But it didn’t take TB long to realize they’d make a huge mistake in paying him to be a #1 receiver.

  24. They still have him under contract for 2017 and can sign him to an extension at any time. The right to hold onto Watkins for another year at a cost a $13 million seems a pretty close call to me. If he stays healthy and has a Pro Bowl year, they can franchise him for $16 ish million for 2018

  25. jchemengr says:
    Apr 15, 2017 5:56 PM

    If he stays healthy and has a Pro Bowl year, they can franchise him for $16 ish million for 2018
    The Bills could also win the next 2 SBs in a row, but we all know that isn’t happening either.

  26. Its crazy he will only be 24 years old come June as he has the injury history of a 30 year old. Would love to see what they could do to keep him on the field for even 14 games but it just seems impossible to keep him healthy. Too bad.

  27. The smart thing to do would be to re-work his contract into a long-term extension now that is cheaper than $13m per year. Of course that is why the Bills won’t do it.

  28. Why doesnt every team wait until the last possible day to excersize the option? Anything can happen in an instant that could change a franchise’s decision.

  29. stick him on the steelers , pats, saints, packers or colts and he will be a hall of famer when all said and done.

    Luck of the draw for wide recievers, he got a 3rd string calibre qb throwing to him for his first 5 yrs.

  30. Be smart Bills…. don’t pick up the option and if he plays and doesn’t get hurt and plays lights out, that’s all the Bills need to do is franchise him and that will buy time to negotiate a long term deal….. They will NEVER let him walk after investing 2 first round picks on him

  31. I don’t have a problem with Whaley. Fans are just looking for someone to blame. Just remember that if Rex had delivered on the defense that they would have made the playoffs.

  32. Anyone saying the Patriots would be certain to pick him up if they don’t exercise the option haven’t been paying attention….BB doesn’t waste time on players that can’t stay on the field.

  33. I don’t think you pick up the option at this time. You make him prove he can play at a high level for a complete 2017 season. If he can, you work on re-signing him. If not, let him go. I don’t think this is a difficult decision to make.

  34. consider the source. sal capaccio is a hack that spews insufferable drivel all the time that is often wrong. there is now way the bills don’t pick up the option as sammy was the only functioning target not named mccoy last year.

  35. piratefreedom says:
    Apr 15, 2017 11:02 AM

    You can’t compensate for a substandard QB by spending big on receivers.


    Sure you can… just ask the Eagles.

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