Sammy Watkins still worth the trade, says Bills' GM

Bills general manager Doug Whaley still thinks the Sammy Watkins trade was worth it.

Despite the rapid rise of some other rookie wide receivers taken behind Watkins who would not have cost the Bills their first-round pick next year -- Kelvin Benjamin, Odell Beckham, Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks -- Whaley is still excited to see what the future holds.

He's also grateful for what Watkins has done this season.

"I'm sure you're trying to get into whether I feel the trade was worth what we did give up," Whaley said on WGR-AM, via "And I say it like this: I can count at least three games that he was the integral part for us winning. I would hate to see our record if he was not on our team."

The question does bring up an interesting point, though. As talented as Watkins is, was there a way to get similar value without mortgaging the near future, especially when the Bills seem like they're just a few quality players short of truly turning the corner?

"We knew this was going to be a talented group," Whaley said. "But we were very excited and we felt that this guy would bring something to our team that we didn't have," Whaley said. "And we thought he was the best player for our situation."

In some ways, Watkins' numbers -- 45 receptions, 649 yards and five touchdowns -- should be elevated when compared to Beckham, Benjamin and the rest, if only because he does not have a premier quarterback or other legitimate play-making threats around him to negate some of the pressure.

Imagine if Buffalo was able to pair him with another game-breaking wideout. His numbers might be high enough to put this discussion to bed.

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