Buffalo Bills make a splash, acquire Jordan Matthews and EJ Gaines

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The Bills shipped former first-round pick Sammy Watkins and a 2018 sixth-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round draft selection, both teams announced Friday.

The Bills also traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a 2018 third-round draft pick.

Watkins' future in Buffalo was already in question after the Bills in May declined to pick up his fifth-year option.

But the Eagles signed free-agent receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason, drafted Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson and have been pleased with 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor's improvement.

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Watkins, 24, is a great offensive weapon when healthy. The shakeup continues an offseason overhaul under new coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane. Defensively they are giving up Darby for Gaines. He won a starting job in 2015 but then got hurt before the season started.

Photo In three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, wide receiver Sammy Watkins had 153 receptions for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The Bills found some stability when they added veteran receiver Anquan Boldin to the mix, and they probably feel Watkins is not worth the gamble if they can have Matthews and Boldin in the offense. Last season, Watkins played in just eight games and totaled 430 yards and two scores on 28 catches. If they release a package of players later this month, they could add another 2018 third-round pick as part of the NFL's compensatory draft pick system. Darby has started 29 games in two years with the Bills. A former No. 4 overall pick, Watkins has been bothered by multiple foot injuries during his career, though he has been productive when healthy.

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