Bills Decline 2018 Option On WR Watkins

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The Buffalo Bills will decline the fifth-year team option for wide receiver Sammy Watkins in 2018. It's a pretty startling move after the Bills gave up so much to trade up for Watkins in the 2014 draft.

Is it somewhat of a risk to give him the fifth-year option in the event that he suffers another long-term injury and the money is guaranteed?

Fantasy Impact As expected, the Bills are declining Watkins' fifth-year option.

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Originally an undrafted free agent, the 5-9, 186 pounder comes to Buffalo by way of the Houston Texans last season and the Indianapolis Colts this offseason. The problem with such thinking was that general manager Doug Whaley had more to lose in letting Watkins walk than coach Sean McDermott, who is now effectively in charge of the Bills' roster.

Watkins has been injured often since entering the league in 2014.

The Bills spent a second-round pick in this year's draft on record-setting former East Carolina wideout Zay Jones. "We look forward to having a healthy Sammy on the field in 2017".

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Sammy Watkins will head into the final year of his rookie contract in Buffalo with a cloud of uncertainty swirling overhead.

With the deadline to exercise the option coming up on Wednesday, the team announced that it has decided against paying Watkins roughly $8.5 million for the 2018 season. Wednesday would have been the deadline to decide whether to exercise the $13.258 million contract for 2018, which they ultimately chose to pass on. Instead, Watkins can negotiate from a relative position of strength, knowing he would either be assigned the franchise tag or hit the open market if he did not agree to a new deal.

Watkins last sustained game action when he was 100 percent healthy came in the second half of the 2015 season. Watkins hasn't stayed healthy, and with how little he was able to contribute in 2016 certainly cast a large shadow of doubt on if he could shake this foot injury. There would be no compensation for Buffalo if Watkins got another offer from a team and the Bills did not match, but they would be in line for a compensatory draft pick in 2019. The Bills can sign him to a new contract any time they wish.

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