Beane repeatedly said the goal for 2017 remains unchanged and the Bills want to win now, but it's obvious these moves were made for success down the road.
Combining two moves, Buffalo essentially ended up with Matthews and Gaines instead of Watkins and Darby, as well as an additional second- and third-round pick in next year's draft. If you look at his numbers and what he's done, those aren't anything to laugh at.
"Sammy has proven he can be a productive player and an explosive receiver in this league, we look forward to having him in a Rams uniform", Rams general manager Les Snead said in a news release.
"E.J. has been a dedicated professional during his time with us, and we wish him and his family the best in their future endeavors". In his three years in Buffalo - the last two in Rex Ryan's run-oriented offense and with multiple quarterbacks - Watkins had 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns and averaged 16.1 yards per catch. And their last one, Josh Reynolds, is a rookie who is raw. "And the timing worked out, I was able to acquire Jordan to help fill in for Sammy and E.J. Gaines help fill in for Ronald". So, while Darby was occasionally beaten for some big plays, Gaines was routinely beaten just about everywhere.
The Rams have known for some time they needed a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver, someone capable of blowing the top off a defense, drawing extra attention defensively - and opening more room for others to work, including running back Todd Gurley - and tilting the field in the Rams' direction. He finished just 18 yards receiving shy of the 1,000-yard mark as a rookie, then followed it up with 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns in his second season despite missing three games due to injury.
This doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement for Matthews, who was actually a teammate of McCoy's in the 2014 season, the 29-year-old's final season in Philadelphia.
The Bills' secondary did need to improve, as last season, they ranked 20th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. It was telling that he chose not to aggressively pursue a new contract with Matthews. His numbers suggest he's deserving of something in the range of Kenny Stills (four years, $32 million) or Austin (four years, $42 million). Manuel - neither of whom will be mistaken for Johnny Unitas - and managed to finish the year 18th in Reception NEP and 37th out 90 in Reception NEP per target among receivers with 50-plus target receivers.
There is also a knee injury to consider. One ailment after the next has crept up in the months since. I have faith in coach (Sean) McDermott, I have faith in management that they made a decision based on the betterment of this team.
Maybe the Bills will shock us all, and get that playoff spot they've been chasing for so long. Patrick Robinson and Jalen Mills sat atop the depth chart before the deal, with Ron Brooks as the favorite to man the slot. It's flawless for the personnel as former coordinator Jim Schwartz found out in 2014.
"I'd love to have some continuity there".