Buffalo Bills rumors about Sammy Watkins have surfaced again. The Bills are unsure about Watkins, suggesting that his time with the franchise could be nearing an end. The front office in Buffalo is concerned about the mounting number of injuries that Watkins has dealt with since becoming a top NFL draft pick for the team. This could possibly lead to the Bills declining a fifth-year option that they hold for the receiver.
Sammy Watkins’ contract is a four-year deal worth almost $20 million. It comes with a fifth-year option worth a base salary of $13 million that would serve as a nice pay raise for the receiver. That option is guaranteed, so if the Bills pick it up and have to deal with another Watkins injury, he still gets paid for the entire 2018 NFL season. This is where a difficult decision has to be made.
During the 2017 NFL season, Watkins only played in eight games while he dealt with a foot injury. He has already had two surgeries on that same foot, raising the risk that it could happen again. Now the front office has to weigh Watkins’ injury risk against his level of production on the field. This is why there are some new Buffalo Bills trade rumors popping up, because the team may choose to deal him rather than simply lose him to free agency.
A report by WGR 550 states that the Bills have until May 2 to decide whether or not to pick up the fifth-year option. Sammy Watkins’ contract has been quite affordable so far, lessening the impact of him missing time. At $13 million for the 2018 NFL season, though, he becomes a much riskier endeavor for the franchise. Still, with the number of draft picks the Bills gave up just to acquire Watkins, does the team really have any choice but to pick up the option?
In the summer of 2014, the Bills traded two first-round picks and a fourth-round pick in a draft-day deal for Watkins. That Sammy Watkins trade was supposed to put the team on a winning track, but he has struggled with consistancy and an ability to simply stay on the field. In three seasons for the Bills, Watkins has played in 37 games, making 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns.
A big positive within these Buffalo Bills rumors is that Sammy Watkins is still so young. He is still only 23 and should have a lot of NFL years left if he can stay healthy. Despite his reputation of being “often injured,” there is still time for Watkins to turn things around and lose that moniker. Playing in all 16 games during the 2017 NFL season would be a good start, giving him a good chance to surpass 1,000 receiving yards again.
If Sammy Watkins ended up in free agency before the 2018 NFL season, there would be no shortage of teams willing to extend him a new contract. The only question would be how much teams would be willing to offer him in that deal. The answer will come down to how good his numbers were in 2017 and whether or not he was able to stay healthy for the entire season. Even if the Bills pick up his option, those same facts will determine if the team enters into negotiations for a long-term contract extension.
Most NFL analysts would agree that the talent is there with Sammy Watkins and that he is worth the money if he can be expected to play a full season. This is also how fantasy football owners view Watkins, as he continues to be a highly-sought name on draft boards. Though he is a risky pick, a healthy Watkins could possibly put up big numbers. Though these new Buffalo Bills rumors do present an interesting situation for the franchise, the end result may simply be that the team has no choice but to take a risk and pick up that fifth-year option.
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