The Buffalo Bills made an interesting and eyebrow raising decision today in regards to one of their top offensive players.
The Bills will not be picking up wide receiver Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option, the team announced on Tuesday
Bills head coach Sean McDermott said the following regarding the team’s decision:
“Sammy and I have had good conversations about this decision. There is no question that Sammy is a very good football player and has worked very hard during his rehab this offseason. We look forward to seeing a healthy Sammy Watkins on the field in 2017.”
The Bills are rolling the dice with this move, hoping that it motivates Watkins to take the next step as a big-time receiver and also waiting to see if Watkins, who has battles injury issues throughout his career, can stay healthy before the team invests big money in a long-term deal with the receiver.
Last week, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News reported the Bills are hesitant to invest in Watkins while he recovers from his latest foot surgery. It is possible that the team could still sign Watkins to a long-term extension or use the franchise tag if his play in 2017 improves.
The Bills traded up in the 2014 draft to select Watkins with the fourth overall pick and he was expected to add an explosive element to the Bills’ passing attack.
But, injuries and other elements have led Buffalo to play the patient approach.
According to Joe Buscaglia of WKBW, Watkins voiced his displeasure with the losing he’s experienced in Buffalo after a rather successful college career.
“[It’s] very stressful. Being at college, I probably lost five games, six games my whole career,” Watkins said.
“It’s a culture. That’s something that we’ve got to change, whether it’s us as players, the coaches, the organization, the mindsets of us. We’ve got to change. We’ve got to think like the fans—be all in. Whatever happens, we win the game, we come out on top…that’s what we’ve got to do.”
It appears that the Bills want Watkins to step up in 2017 before committing to the receiver long term.