Kansas City Chiefs fans wait on news for Ben Watson, Kendall Wright

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 17: Benjamin Watson
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 17: Benjamin Watson /

The Kansas City Chiefs recently brought in some free agents on offense for a visit but have failed to generate any further signings.

Free agent visits don’t mean what they used to.

In the last week or so, the Kansas City Chiefs have hosted veteran tight end Benjamin Watson and wide receiver Kendall Wright, two more potential targets for a turbo-boosted offense set to surround first-year starter Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. Typically such visits come with a pretty quick news update stating that the rumor has become official and a player is introduced.

Not so these days in free agency, even though “these days” are literal days from the early period, where a free agent visit is much more meaningful. In the first few days of the free agent signing period, a visit means that player is likely to sign with that team, a near foregone conclusion that the team is making official what has been worked out behind the scenes.

In the second wave or later of free agency, it’s not nearly as certain. After a couple weeks, teams begin to check in on players, a tier of performers that teams knew they could afford to put off for a bit. If you want Sammy Watkins, you’d best jump on it. Kendall Wright? He’ll be there.

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That’s not a knock on Wright. He’s a fine performer and there are good reasons why Chiefs fans would love to bring him into the fold, but it’s just the nature of this stretch of the NFL offseason. Teams check in on a few options and bring in the ones they want. Heck, even Ndamukong Suh lingered for several days on the open market as teams made their bids and decided what they wanted to do.

The complicating factor here with Watson is that it was not just a reported visit. Ian Rapoport even stated that the Chiefs were “working on a deal” for Watson, which implied that they knew they wanted him. Maybe something went wrong with the physical? Maybe one side or the other had reservations? Perhaps it’s already settled and the timing of an announcement is being saved for undisclosed reasons.

For the most part, fans will simply have to adjust their expectations during this stretch of March and April. Teams aren’t done shopping, not by any stretch, but a visit won’t necessarily mean a signing. It means a team and/or player are doing their homework and an eventual match might be made.