Bills start rebuilding process with shocking Watkins trade

The Buffalo Bills are rebuilding.

That became crystal clear when the team made two shocking trades Friday, sending Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The proof is in what the Bills got in return. From the Rams, it's a second-round pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines for Watkins and a sixth-round selection. From the Eagles, it's wideout Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick for Darby.

Add that haul to what the Bills did during April's draft, when the team traded back from the 10th overall pick to No. 27, receiving the Kansas City Chiefs' third-round selection in 2017 and first-round pick next year as compensation.

Those trades leave the Bills stocked with two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and two third-round picks in the 2018 draft.

That's not a bad way to kick-start a rebuilding process.

It's now clear new Bills general manager Brandon Beane and new head coach Sean McDermott plan to do exactly that.

Moving forward, no Bills player should feel safe.

Tyrod Taylor, in particular, will likely question whether he's viewed by the new regime as more than a one-year solution at quarterback. It seems almost inevitable the Bills will draft Taylor's replacement next spring, particularly in light of how reluctant the team has been to commit to him in recent seasons.

Perhaps LeSean McCoy is also near the end of his time in Western New York. The 29-year-old tailback has a potential out in his five-year, $40-million contract signed in 2015 that would leave the Bills with only $5.25 million in dead money if he is released after the 2017 season.

Any defensive player who doesn't fit McDermott's scheme could also be on the chopping block. Linebacker Reggie Ragland, a 2016 second-round pick, stands out as one such player and it would not be a shock if he's traded in the coming days.

The Bills will eventually end their drought and return to the playoffs. It's possible the moves made Friday will help make it happen.

But in the immediate aftermath of two of the most shocking deals in recent NFL history, the Bills are certainly further from January football than they were yesterday.

Bills start rebuilding process with shocking Watkins trade
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