BUFFALO – (Staff and Wire Service Report by The Sports Xchange) – Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins is hoping NFL players can get bigger paydays after watching the first day of NBA free agency with many stars agreeing to megadeals. The 24-year-old Watkins, the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft out of Clemson, took to Twitter on Sunday to push NFL players getting paid like their counterparts in the NBA.
“We gotta get paid more I’m pretty sure 2014 class will change the market,” Watkins tweeted.
Watkins also retweeted NFL player promoter Jake Steinberg, who wrote: “NFL players have the right to be (ticked off). They get the smallest piece of the pie. NFL has $12B in annual revenue; NBA has $5B.”
NBA free agents agreed to deals totaling nearly $1 billion in the first 24 hours of free agency alone, according to USA Today.
Watkins has been greatly overshadowed in the 2014 NFL Draft class by fellow wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, partly because of his multiple injuries.
Watkins caught just 28 passes for 430 yards and two scores in 2016, and then the Bills in May declined to pick up his fifth-year option for 2018 that would have paid their top receiver $13.258 million. Over his four-year rookie contract, Watkins will earn $19.9 million, all of which was fully guaranteed.
The team’s decision means Watkins will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2017 season.
Watkins has experienced injury issues during his first three NFL seasons and played in just eight games last season due to a foot injury.
Head coach Sean McDermott said the Bills are going to continue to “be smart” regarding Watkins as he comes back from his second foot surgery in January.
Watkins resumed practicing during minicamp last month after missing the majority of offseason workouts while recovering from surgery.
Watkins caught 65 passes for 982 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games as a rookie. He set career highs of 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns in his second season when he had 60 receptions in 13 games