A surefire sign that your team has gone into a rebuilding year is when they trade away your top wide receiver and top cornerback while training camp is still going on. That's what the Buffalo Bills did today.
First they shipped their best wideout, Sammy Watkins, and a sixth round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for defensive back E. J. Gaines and a second round pick. Then they traded away corner Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for receiver Jordan Matthews and a third round pick. This positions their new head coach, Sean McDermott, and new general manager, Brandon Beane, with six picks in the first three rounds of the 2018 draft, two in each of the first, second and third rounds having gotten next years first round pick from Kansas City Chiefs on a draft day trade.
Matthews has been a very productive receiver for the Eagles, but the second round pick from 2014 is entering the final year of his rookie contract and the team never got serious about extending his deal. He will likely come in and play the slot for Buffalo for the season and then go on his way in free agency after.
Gaines is a sixth round pick from the same draft and will come in and start opposite of the Bills 1st round pick form the year, Tre'davious White. Both players could be kept around if they click with the coaching staff and do well in the season, or they could move on without costing the Bills anything. These moves seem to be freeing up cap space and creating a situation where McDermott can get the players he wants onto the team.
For the Rams, they get the vertical threat they've been searching for in Watkins. It also gives the team another marquee players to help sell tickets. This shows how quickly things change in the NFL. In 2014, the Bills were so high on Watkins that they traded away their first round pick and the first and fourth in 2015 to the Cleveland Browns to move up six spots to get Watkins. This is one of the 2014 first rounders that didn't get their fifth year option picked up.