The Los Angeles Rams made a move to bolster their wide receiver group on Friday, sending cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second round pick in 2018 for Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins and a 2018 6th-rounder.
The Rams clearly focused on upgrading their passing game this offseason as they hope to turn Jared Goff, the 2016 NFL Draft's No. 1 overall pick, into a franchise quarterback.
Last year, L.A. was second-to-last in the league ahead of only San Francisco with only 184.4 passing yards per game. Three of their four leading receivers — Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Lance Kendricks — left in free agency to the Browns, Redskins and Packers.
Their two leading returning receivers heading into 2017 are Tavon Austin (58 catches for 509 yards and 3 TDs) and running back Todd Gurley (43 receptions for 327 yards and no TDs).
Not all of the blame can be put on their receivers — the QB play was poor. Both starting quarterbacks on the year — Goff and Case Keenum — threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and neither put together a winning record (Keenum went 4-5, Goff went 0-7).
But, it's never a bad idea to give your quarterback more weapons, and the Rams have tried to do that.
L.A. signed Watkins' former (and once again current) teammate Robert Woods in the offseason and drafted former Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp in the third round of the 2017 Draft, and former Texas A&M receiver Josh Reynolds in the fourth round.
Throw in Friday's trade for Watson, and the Rams are clearly serious about upgrading the position.
Bills have acquired CB E.J. Gaines and Rams 2018 second round pick for WR Sammy Watkins and Bills 2018 sixth round pick.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2017
The question is, was it enough?
Buffalo wasn't much better passing the ball last year — in fact they were one spot ahead of the Rams at third-worst in the NFL with 189.8 yards per game. Now L.A. has their No. 1 and 2 receivers from last season, granted Watkins only played eight games last year as he dealt with injuries.
Watkins has played in 21 games the past two seasons after playing all 16 as a rookie in 2014. He showed the most promise in 13 games as a second-year pro, hauling in 60 catches for 1,047 yards and 9 TDs. He caught 28 passes for 430 yards and two scores in his injury shortened season last year.
Among current Rams receivers, Robert Woods was the most productive guy last season and he only had 613 yards on 51 catches.
The Rams are excited about rookies Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds, but even after the Watkins trade you have to wonder if they've done enough to get markedly better at the position.
If Watkins is healthy (which is a big if considering the past two seasons) they have a solid No. 1 receiver to anchor their receiving corps. The young players behind — especially Kupp — should quickly surpass Woods and Austin, who are rotational receivers at best.
L.A. deserves some credit for making a move and trying to get better at the position, but they took a chance on an injury-prone receiver and gave up a high draft pick and a starter to do so. If Watkins doesn't stay healthy, this move could hurt in the long run.