Bills deal Watkins in 3-team shake-up

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Star Tribune - - NFL -

The Buf­falo Bills’ off­sea­son over­haul isn’t over yet now that re­ceiver and cor­ner­back be­came the lat­est play­ers to be sent pack­ing.

The Bills dealt both starters in sep­a­rate block­buster trades on Fri­day in an ef­fort to re­shape the ros­ter un­der new coach

Sean McDer­mott.

Watkins was traded to the Los An­ge­les Rams, while Darby was sent to the Philadel­phia Ea­gles. Buf­falo ad­dressed both po­si­tions by ac­quir­ing re­ceiver from Philadel­phia and cor­ner­back

from the Rams. The Bills also con­tin­ued look­ing to the fu­ture by fur­ther stock­pil­ing 2018 draft se­lec­tions. They ac­quired a sec­ond-round pick from L.A. and a third-rounder from the Ea­gles, while also send­ing a sixth-round pick to the Rams. Buf­falo now has two picks in each of the first three rounds next year af­ter ac­quir­ing the Kansas City Chiefs’ first-round se­lec­tion in April.

The ad­di­tional picks pro­vide Bills Gen­eral Man­ager

as­sets in a draft that looks as if it will have sev­eral top-end quar­ter­back prospects. Bills starter

fu­ture is un­cer­tain beyond this sea­son.

McDer­mott ac­knowl­edged his most dif­fi­cult chal­lenge was not merely break­ing the news of Watkins’ de­par­ture to Taylor. “I’ll take it a step fur­ther: How do you sell it to the en­tire team?” McDer­mott said, be­fore out­lin­ing his mes­sage.

“You put one step in front of the other and we move on,” he said. “I asked them to con­tinue to trust me and our de­ci­sions in terms of what we’re do­ing.”

The trades caught Bills play­ers by sur­prise a day af­ter a 17-10 preseason-open­ing loss to the Vik­ings.

“It’s tough to lose a guy like Sammy,” Taylor said. “We have to put a pos­i­tive lin­ing. It’s a win-now league. And as a team, we have to re­fo­cus, do what­ever it takes to win games.”

Gaines Jor­dan Matthews Bran­don Beane Sammy Watkins Ron­ald Darby

Watkins

Ty­rod Taylor’s Tan­nehill out for ’17

Ryan Tan­nehill

E.J.

who parted with the Chicago Bears af­ter eight sea­sons, agreed to de­lay his fledg­ling net­work TV ca­reer and signed a $10 mil­lion, one-year con­tract Mon­day to re­place Tan­nehill. Cut­ler, 34, might make his Dol­phins de­but in their sec­ond ex­hi­bi­tion game next Thurs­day.

Roundup

Pitts­burgh 20, New York Giants 12:

Josh Dobbs

Rookie quar­ter­back threw a 28-yard touch­down pass and kicked a 37-yard field goal in the third quar­ter to give vis­it­ing Steel­ers the lead for good in a preseason win over the Giants on Fri­day night.

Boswell Cincin­nati 23, Tampa Bay 12: Ryan Fitz­patrick, Jameis Win­ston,

a chance to back up

made a good ini­tial im­pres­sion with the Buc­ca­neers, com­plet­ing his first se­ries with a 6-yard touch­down run, be­fore the host Ben­gals pulled away.

San Fran­cisco 27, Kansas City 17: Alex Smith

led the host Chiefs to a quick touch­down and first-round pick

had an im­pres­sive de­but, be­fore the 49ers back­ups took over.

Ma­homes II Chris

vy­ing for

Pa­trick

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