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NFC East: Eagles trade leading receiver to Bills for CB Ronald Darby

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USA TODAY Sports

NFC East: Eagles trade leading receiver to Bills for CB Ronald Darby

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills shook up their roster with two separate blockbuster trades Friday, dealing starting receiver Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams and acquiring receiver Jordan Matthews from Philadelphia in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby.

The Bills acquired cornerback E.J. Gaines from the Rams.

Buffalo also continued stockpiling 2018 draft picks by getting a second-round selection from Los Angeles and a third-rounder from the Eagles. The Bills dealt a sixth-round pick to the Rams as part of the Watkins trade.

The moves were made day after Buffalo opened its preseason with a 17-10 loss to Minnesota. The shakeup continues an offseason overhaul under new coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane.

Gaines was valuable defensive back in the Rams' rotation. He won a starting job in 2015 but then got hurt before the season started. He became expendable after the Rams acquired Kayvon Webster this offseason, who is pegged to start opposite Trumaine Johnson.

The Rams need playmakers for an offense that finished last in the NFL over the past two seasons. Watkins can be that type of dynamic threat when healthy.

Watkins had been the Bills starter since Buffalo traded up five spots in the 2014 draft to select him with the No. 4 pick. He has 153 catches for 2,459 yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons, but topped 1,000 yards just once, in 2015.

He's been hampered by an assortment of injuries and limited to playing just eight games last year after having surgery to repair a broken left foot. Watkins required a second operation in January after aggravating the injury last season.

In Los Angeles, Watkins is reunited with the Rams new coach Anthony Lynn, who spent the previous two seasons in Buffalo. Lynn started as the Bills receivers coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator last year and finished the season as the team's interim coach after Rex Ryan was fired a week before the final game.

Watkins is also reunited with former Bills starter Robert Woods, who signed with the Rams in free agency after four seasons in Buffalo.

The Bills continue revamping their receiver group, with Matthews' acquisition coming four days after Buffalo signed veteran free agent Anquan Boldin.

Matthews had been Philadelphia's most productive receiver, averaging 75 catches, 891 receiving yards and six touchdowns in his first three seasons. But the Eagles signed free-agent receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in the offseason, drafted Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson and have been pleased with 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor's improvement.

Darby started 29 games in his first two seasons in Buffalo. He was a second-round pick (50th overall) in the 2015 draft.

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Maybe the Redskins aren't as banged up on defense as we thought they were

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Associated Press

Maybe the Redskins aren't as banged up on defense as we thought they were

The Redskins’ defense may not be as banged up as we thought it was.

On Thursday, the first day of serious preparation for their Monday night game in Philadelphia, injured defenders CB Josh Norman (rib), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), and S Deshazor Everett (hamstring) all practiced on a limited basis.

Norman was inactive against the 49ers after suffering a broken rib against the Chiefs on October 2. Breeland injured his knee against San Francisco. They are the starters, and if they both can play against the 5-1 Eagles it would be a huge boost to the defense.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

It should be noted that both cornerbacks only took part in individual drills, so it is no sure thing that either will be ready to play in Philadelphia. But having them at practice was a good start.

Everett is a reserve safety and a key special teams contributor. His presence in the latter area could be important as the Eagles’ performance on special teams is among the best in the league.

LB Ryan Anderson (back) and S Stefan McClure (knee) both practiced on a limited basis.

Also practicing was S DeAngelo Hall. He has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of training camp rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered in 2016. The team now has a 21-day window during which they can activate him. However, he must sit out at least one more game.

On offense, Trent Williams (knee) did not practice. That is not ideal but he was able to play last Sunday after being out of practice all last week.

RELATED: IN A MUDDLED NFC WHY NOT THE REDSKINS?

Jay Gruden announced roster moves that had been reported previously, with K Dustin Hopkins (hip) and DE Jonathan Allen (foot) going on injured reserve. First-year player Nick Rose will handle the place kicking duties and A.J. Francis will take Allen’s roster spot.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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A.J. Francis promoted to Redskins' 53-man roster

A.J. Francis promoted to Redskins' 53-man roster

The Redskins put Jonathan Allen on injured reserve and brought in a familiar face to replace him on the roster.

Jay Gruden announced that the team has signed former practice squad member A.J. Francis to take the place of Allen, who suffered a Lisfranc injury last Sunday in the game against the 49ers. Francis spent part of last season on the Redskins practice squad and he was on the 53-man roster for a couple of weeks, although he did not appear in a game. Francis also was on the team this year before being released in the cut to 53 on September 2.  

The former Maryland standout has played in three NFL games, all in 2015, appearing in two for the Seahawks and one for the Dolphins.

RELATED: MORE ON ALLEN'S INJURY

In all, Francis has been a part of 22 transactions, starting when he signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2013.

Allen has undergone surgery to repair the foot already. The normal schedule for a Lisfranc calls for a player to stay off of the foot for 6-8 weeks and then start rehabbing, which can take a month or possibly a lot longer.

He would be eligible to be activated off of injured reserve after missing eight games, which means he technically could play in Week 15 against the Cardinals. But that would be an extremely optimistic timetable for such an injury.

MORE REDSKINS: MUST-SEE PHOTOS FROM REDSKINS 26, 49ERS 24

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.