The Buffalo Bills acquired wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third round draft pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby today. The move was the second huge one for the Bills as they also traded wide receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for EJ Gaines and a second round draft pick. All in all, the Bills essentially traded Darby and Watkins for Matthews, Gaines and the two draft picks. Those moves give Buffalo two firsts, two seconds and two third round selections in next year’s NFL Draft. Trading away their top wide receiver and top cornerback and stockpiling those choices is also a clear indicator Buffalo feels like they’re not in a position to compete quite yet – a disappointing look to say the least for a team that has failed to make the playoffs in 17 straight seasons.
The acquisition of Matthews creates a whirlwind of dynasty impact from Philadelphia to Buffalo. For the impact of Sammy Watkins on the Rams, make sure you check out our analysis here as well. Let’s spin around the new-look rosters of the Eagles and Bills and discuss the impact.
Jordan Matthews, WR BUF
Matthews is a clear winner today. His ADP has been in total freefall over the past six months as he fell out of favor in Philadelphia. A change in scenery is exactly what he needed and his arrow will now be pointing right back up as he’s essentially gone from being the third or fourth option in an offense to the first. He’s on the last year of his rookie deal and will be a free agent at the end of the season as well, giving him every reason to perform at his highest possible level.
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Matthews will slide in as Tyrod Taylor’s top option and should excel with the opportunity. While he’s not an elite player, he’s one who now finds himself in a great position for production. The Bills employ a run-first offense but Matthews has a chance to put up WR2 numbers this season if he can acclimate quickly to the playbook. Simply put, owners who held on to him have been rewarded.
Zay Jones, WR BUF
With Watkins out of the picture, the Bills are in the market for a long-term WR1 at the position. If Matthews fails to take hold of the opportunity, that man could be rookie Zay Jones. With Watkins out of the mix, Jones will see more playing time if and when Matthews hits the slot. All in all, this is a good day to be an owner of Jones and his ADP should remain steady, if not move up a notch or two.
Anquan Boldin, WR BUF
Boldin was supposedly brought in to be a short-term stopgap on an offense looking to compete. Now, he’s going to be a veteran counted on even more on a team that seems to be looking more to the future than the present. The Boldin signing now seems a bit odd but the Bills can certainly hope the dropoff at cornerback and receiver isn’t great enough to take them out of contention. Boldin will undoubtedly be a good soldier and carry on. His value is bumped up a smidge after today’s moves.
Tyrod Taylor, QB BUF
The Bills are clearly looking ahead to the future and Tyrod Taylor is squarely on the hot seat. He’s going to need to perform at a high level this year to keep his job and it’s going to be tougher without Watkins around. It seemed like they were clicking in the first preseason game but that’s meaningless now. With a draft pick arsenal like the Bills possess, they’re in great position to move up for a quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. If they choose to do that, Taylor will likely be released and looking for work. Of course, he can stop all that talk if he has a breakout season. The pressure is on Taylor, whom the Bills have been seemingly reluctant to hitch their wagon to long-term for whatever reason.
Rod Streater, Corey Brown, Andre Holmes, WRs BUF
The loss of Watkins and addition of Matthews (who simply has to be considered a downgrade even though he’s a talented player) could open up some opportunities for the rest of this bunch. However, it’s hard to see a ton of value here.
Nelson Agholor, WR PHI
Agholor is the other clear winner in this trade. With Matthews out of the picture, Agholor should slide right into slot duties with the Eagles. While he hasn’t been the player the Eagles had hoped when they took him in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, he’s had a good camp and will now officially take the snaps Matthews would have likely received. I wouldn’t go crazy quite yet but owners who have been patiently awaiting a breakout from Agholor may just finally get their wish. His ADP shown below will also see a nice little bump after today’s trade.
Torrey Smith, WR PHI
Some believed Smith could actually be on the roster bubble with the Eagles but that buzz should end now. He’ll get his chances this year and hope to make good on a contract season.
Alshon Jeffery, WR PHI
This news doesn’t really affect Jeffery much. He’s the unquestioned top dog for the Eagles this year and, much like Smith, will try to really perform well in hopes of scoring a lucrative long-term contract next season.
Mack Hollins and Bryce Treggs, WRs PHI
As I wrote in my first preseason notebook, both these players looked great in their preseason debuts this week. Hollins was our Eagles sleeper this year and the pecking order for Philadelphia was just trimmed by one. These two are both players to watch as the preseason rolls on. Hollins has had nothing but praise heaped upon him over the last month and this trade could show confidence in both these young wideouts.
Carson Wentz, QB PHI
You could make a case that losing Matthews will hurt Wentz. However, I think it’s pretty transparent. From all reports, Agholor was likely going to overtake Matthews for the job in the slot already. The Eagles defense should be improved now and take some pressure off Wentz anyway. The Eagles have a depth chart deep enough to handle the loss of Matthews, at least in the short-term.
Zach Ertz, TE PHI
There’s a ton of talk out there about Zach Ertz being a TE1 now. Uhh, he already was!?! I really believe the writing has been on the wall with Matthews already and it’s not as if Agholor, Smith, Jeffery AND Matthews were all going to be on the field at the same time. Ertz’ value is safe and he’s a great option when healthy. If Agholor fails miserably, it would benefit him. I just have a hard time believing the loss of Matthews somehow vaults Ertz up tremendously.
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