On Friday, Rams GM Les Snead told reporters that he’s “definitely” interested in keeping WR Sammy Watkins long term after they agreed to send CB E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick to the Bills for Watkins.
“Definitely,” Snead said of possibly signing Watkins to a long-term deal, per Alden Gonzalez. “He’s 24, so you don’t just talk for the now. Because of the age, we’d like it to be long term instead of short term.”
Although, the two parties have yet to discuss a new contract.
Given that they parted with a second-round pick as part of the deal for Watkins, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that they’re hoping to retain him beyond this season. Watkins has dealt with injuries since entering the NFL and is in the final year of his contract, so the two sides could wait until next year to open contract talks, depending on how things go in 2017.
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.