For weeks, the Buffalo Bills training camp schedule listed Saturday as a day off. With the preseason opener back on Thursday, the off-day gives the Bills a chance to recover before taking on the final week of training camp.
With two massive trades on Friday, the off-day became another day to process and mull over the future of the Buffalo Bills.
General Manager Brandon Beane shipped wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams for defensive back E.J. Gaines and a 2nd round pick in 2018. Tag-teamming that deal was a separate move to send defensive back Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 3rd round pick in 2018.
As it currently stands, the Bills hold two draft picks in each of the first three rounds of next year’s draft.
Watkins landed in LA on Saturday afternoon and was on the sideline for the Rams preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.
He joins the Rams after the previous front office regime spent two 1st round picks on the star wideout in the 2014 draft. The last two years have been marred by multiple foot surgeries for Watkins. The Bills also declined the 5th-year option on his rookie contract earlier this year, making him a free agent after the 2017 season. Watkins says he feels no ill will toward the Bills after this trade.
“Nah, it’s a business,” said Watkins to the Los Angeles media. “I’m in LA. I can’t wait to get started honestly. It’s a blessing to be here. Being in LA can help me out, nice weather, and to be in this city with these players, trying to chase a goal and win championships and go to the playoffs.”
Darby arrived in Philadelphia in time to watch his new team practice Saturday morning. He joins an Eagles team in dire need of help in the secondary. The 2-year starter in Buffalo will also join former teammates Corey Graham and Ron Brooks.
With Stephon Gilmore now on the New England Patriots, Darby stood a good chance of being the Bills top defensive back for the season opener. Now he heads to a division with superstar wide receivers like Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.
“It was fast. i just heard i was getting traded,” said Darby after the Eagles practice. “Close my eyes, open them, I’m on a plane. Close my eyes, open them, I’m laying down in a hotel, and now I’m out here, so everything’s been moving real fast.”
The Bills will gather again at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford for a training camp session on Sunday at 2:15pm. The team’s next preseason game is Thursday, August 17th against Darby’s Philadelphia Eagles.