NCAA Football

New Rams receiver Sammy Watkins ‘can’t wait’ to get in new offense after trade

August 12, 2017

LOS ANGELES — Sammy Watkins couldn’t believe his fortune. In Buffalo’s preseason opener Thursday, Watkins caught passes on the first three plays of the game.

“I just thought I was catching it hot,” Watkins said. “They were targeting me pretty quick. After the game, I was like, ‘Oh, I was probably out there auditioning.”’

Maybe, maybe not, but shortly after the game, Watkins learned that he had been traded to the Rams, along with Buffalo’s 2018 sixth-round pick, for cornerback E.J. Gaines and the Rams’ second-round pick.

Watkins arrived in Southern California on Saturday afternoon and was not in uniform for the Rams’ preseason opener against Dallas at the Coliseum, but going forward, he figures to be a huge part of the Rams’ offense. As soon as he learns it, that is.

“I can’t wait to get on the field and figure those guys out,” Watkins said Saturday. “They’ll learn my speed and I’ll learn the way they throw, and really just learn the offense. That’s the biggest thing.”

Watkins should give the Rams the speedy, downfield threat that they currently lack, particularly with Tavon Austiin sidelined with a hamstring injury. Watkins was a 1,000-yard receiver two seasons ago, but he also has been slowed by injuries, and he missed half of the 2016 season with a foot injury that required surgery.

Watkins said he didn’t know much about Rams coach Sean McVay, but had positive memories of McVay’s offense when he worked as coordinator in Washington.

“I know they open it up pretty good, with a lot of wide receivers, so I can’t wait to get in this offense,” Watkins said.

But for how long? A few months before the trade, Buffalo declined its fifth-year contract option on Watkins, which means he would be a free agent at the end of this season. Rams general manager Les Snead said the Rams would explore signing Watkins to a new contract, but Watkins sounded somewhat less certain.

“I’ve got to handle my business and control what I can control on the field,” Watkins said. “If I go out there and have the year that I’m expecting to have, then we can talk contract. I’ve still got to go out there and do my job, and let those guys handle paperwork and contracts and numbers.”

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