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Former Vanderbilt star Jordan Matthews traded to the Buffalo Bills
12 Agosto 2017, 11:09 | Gerardo Tarin
Bills deal Sammy Watkins, acquire Jordan Matthews in separate deals
Sean McDermott's rebuild is in full swing here in Buffalo.
The Eagles' first-series touchdown drive in Thursday night's preseason opener showed two things: Why the team thought it could afford to deal Jordan Matthews, and why that trade with Buffalo is nonetheless a gamble for an organization trying to build a contender around Carson Wentz.
What really hurt was giving up a second-round pick, but the chances of hitting on someone like Watkins in the second round seem far less favorable than the chances of Watkins staying healthy enough to be productive.
He's dealt with a troubling number of injuries in his career, ranging from a rib issue in 2014 to a lingering foot ailment that hindered him greatly last season. Those injury issues have been a continuous problem for the Bills since he was drafted, and it's likely that those medical concerns played a part in the Bills trade decision.
Additionally, the Bills traded corner back Ronald Darby to Philadelphia in exchange for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and the Eagles' 2018 third round pick.
So what exactly did the Bills get out of all this? Friday's trades look to be about acquiring draft picks and rebuilding.
Watkins enters the 2017 season on the final year of his contract after the Bills declined his fifth-year option earlier this offseason.
It's not hard to see why the Bills might not be thrilled with him. Darby, 23, is expected to immediately start for the Eagles, leaving Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson, rookie Rasul Douglas and Ron Brooks to compete for two other spots.
When he was on the field, though, Watkins was a stud. His best year came in 2015, when Watkins had 60 receptions for over 1000 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Watkins has been dealing with a foot injury that limited the wide receiver to just eight games a year ago after having an operation to fix a broken foot.
Watkins will be replaced by Matthews.
Matthews will have plenty of opportunity for success in Buffalo.
But now, the team has given him a true playmaking #1 wide receiver. However, the deals could weaken Buffalo's chances of improving on their 7-9 record from last season. Trading away E.J. Gaines is no issue. He's played in the National Football League for two years. In 2016, Darby had a career-best 69 tackles and 12 passes defensed. So, while Darby was occasionally beaten for some big plays, Gaines was routinely beaten just about everywhere.
That knowledge won't placate McCoy, 29, who made it no secret he sees a significant drop-off in talent from Watkins to Matthews.
The Eagles haven't won a playoff game since their cornerbacks were Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown, a pair of high 2002 draft picks.
Going to the Bills should move him up draft boards. But this isn't just about the upcoming season. Speaking of the draft, the Bills now own Kansas City's 2018 first-rounder along with the second- and third-round selections picked up Friday. So they went about changing that this calendar year.
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