This is a stunner.
It was clear that the Bills had long-term concerns about Watkins, who has dealt with a number of injuries since entering the NFL, but there wasn’t any buzz about a potential trade out of Buffalo.
The Rams could use a No. 1 receiver and it’s possible that fresh start could pay off big for Watkins. He joins for Bills WR Robert Woods in Los Angeles.
Watkins, 23, was taken with the No. 4 overall pick back in 2014 after the Bills traded up to get him. He’s currently in the final year of his four-year, $19.935 million rookie contract and stands to make a base salary of $3,138,491 in 2017.
The Bills somewhat surprisingly declined to pick up Watkins’ fifth-year option a few months ago, which means he’s in line to be an unrestricted free agent next year.
Watkins underwent a second foot surgery back in January after struggling with the injury throughout the 2016 season.
In 2016, Watkins appeared in eight games for the Bills, recording 28 receptions for 430 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 47 receiver out of 115 qualifying players.
Gaines, 25, is a former sixth-round pick of the Rams back in 2014. He’s currently in the final year of his four-year, $2,327,672 contract and stands to make a base salary of $690,000 for the 2017 season.
Gaines will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018.
In 2016, Gaines appeared in 11 games and recorded 56 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and seven pass defenses.