The Buffalo Bills have the longest playoff drought in the NFL and it looks like the drought will continue in 2017 as new General Manager Brandon Beane has all but hit the reset button with a pair of trades today.
Months after declining to exercise their fifth-year option on talented, but oft-injured wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Buffalo has traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick in 2018.
But that’s not all! Moments later, Buffalo traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick in 2018.
Make no mistake, both Gaines and Matthews are significant drop-offs from the players they traded. In fact, Gaines was the worst cornerback in football last season. He was ranked 105th out of 110 qualified cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus and was especially ineffective in coverage. Opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 139.1 when throwing against him, the worst mark in the NFL and he surrendered a league-high eight touchdowns while not recording an interception in 72 targets.
Matthews, on the other hand, was watching his role in Philadelphia erode. Philadelphia signed Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith during the offseason, but a strong training camp from former first-round selection Nelson Agholor came as a surprise and landed him the starting gig at the slot.
But these trades weren’t made for the Bills to contend today. The key for them were the draft picks. Buffalo now owns two picks in each of the first three rounds and with a strong quarterback class available, Buffalo can target their new franchise signal caller as well. Tyrod Taylor has been the Bills best quarterback since Doug Flutie, but he was a part of the old regime and new regimes means new quarterbacks (unless you have Peyton Manning). Unless Taylor had a phenomenal season, it seems all but guaranteed that the team will release him next spring.
Another interesting player to watch will be LeSean McCoy. He has been very good for the Bills, but he’s 29 now and not many running backs produce when they hit 30. The Bills can also save money this offseason by releasing him.
Buffalo fans, unfortunately, will have to suffer through another rebuild, but hey, at least this time there’s a decent chance Tom Brady will finally retire.