Bills will reportedly decline receiver Sammy Watkins' fifth-year option

Rachel Hardy
May 3, 2017

Bills head coach Sean McDermott explained the decision in a team statement. In March, I wrote that exercising Watkins' option was a no-brainer for Buffalo, especially considering they could pull Watkins' option any time before next spring without worrying about it being fully guaranteed. Instead, the Bills have chosen to wait and see how Watkins performs - and how healthy he stays - during the 2017 season before deciding on what to do long-term. 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. "We look forward to having a healthy Sammy on the field in 2017".

The Buffalo Bills declined the fifth-year option on Sammy Watkins, making him a free agent in 2018. The receiver is on schedule to be cleared for the start of training camp in late July.

In addition to his foot injury, Watkins missed three games with shin and ankle injuries in 2015. It's a pretty startling move after the Bills gave up so much to trade up for Watkins in the 2014 draft.

This means that Watkins, whom the Bills selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 National Football League draft, will become a free agent after the 2017 National Football League season concludes. The Bills sent the ninth overall selection in 2014, plus first- and fourth-rounders in 2015, to the Cleveland Browns for the fourth overall pick, which they used on Watkins.

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In 37 career games over three seasons, Watkins has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns.

However, if Watkins does return to his 2015 form and becomes a risky receiving threat once again, Buffalo could sign him to a multi-year deal.

The Bills also claimed cornerback Charles James off waivers, who spent his collegiate career at Charleston Southern from 2009-12.

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