“The more weapons you can have, it stresses the defensive coordinator,” Snead said, adding, “Tavon is a fast kid.… Having fast people on your team, you never have too many of those.”
The Rams sent cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick in next year’s draft to the Bills in exchange for Watkins and a sixth-round pick.
The Rams signed Austin, 5 feet 8 and 179 pounds, to a four-year extension worth $42 million, with $30 million guaranteed, last season. He caught 58 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns.
Austin has been sidelined since the first week of training camp because of a hamstring injury and did not participate in offseason workouts while recovering from a wrist injury.
Snead said that Austin’s hamstring issue did not inflluence his decision to bring in Watkins, whom the Rams were tracking after the Bills did not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
Watkins, 6-1, 211 pounds, is a proven deep threat when healthy and is expected to be a top target for second-year quarterback Jared Goff, in a group that includes Austin, Robert Woods, Pharoh Cooper, Mike Thomas and rookies Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds.
In a preseason game with the Bills on Thursday, Watkins caught four passes, including three in the first three plays.
Watkins will be on the sideline Saturday when the Rams play the Dallas Cowboys but is not expected to participate.