Bills WR Watkins won't have option exercised

Posted May 03, 2017

And so, on Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Bills will not pick up the fifth-year option on Watkins' rookie contract. There's precedent for players around the league re-upping with the clubs that drafted them even though their fifth-year options were declined. Foot problems kept Watkins out of eight games last season and compromised his effectiveness when he did return to the lineup in the second half of the 2016 campaign.

Sammy Watkins will head into the final year of his rookie contract in Buffalo with a cloud of uncertainty swirling overhead. Buffalo won't be beholden to Watkins for a big chunk of money if he gets injured on 2017, and Watkins is now scheduled to become a free agent in 2018.

The former Clemson star joined the Bills as the fourth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft after Doug Whaley, fired as the team's general manager on Sunday, gave first- and fourth-round picks to the Cleveland Browns to move up for Watkins. McDermott would not say that Jones will win a starting job right away, but the thinking is that he can be a good complement to Watkins (if healthy) next season and possible insurance if Watkins walks in free agency in 2018. When healthy, Watkins has looked like the number one receiver the Bills have long desired, but healthy is the operative keyword - and the option was guaranteed for injury.

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Declining the option, however does not mean that Watkins and the Bills will necessarily split at the end of the upcoming season.

He has 153 catches for 2,359 yards and 17 touchdowns in 37 career games. "There is no question Sammy is a very good football player and has worked hard during his rehab this offseason".

To open 2017, Watkins is coming off of foot surgery. During last year's injury-ravaged season, Watkins managed just 28 catches for 430 yards and two scores. This becomes a likely scenario if Watkins stays healthy in 2017 and performs up to expectations.