Benjamin Watson signs with Saints over Chiefs

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: Benjamin Watson
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: Benjamin Watson /

The New Orleans Saints were able to come to terms with tight end Benjamin Watson on a one-year deal after he previously was connected with the Chiefs.

Just last week, the Kansas City Chiefs were reportedly “working on a deal” with veteran tight end Benjamin Watson. On Wednesday it was announced he’d instead signed a one-year contract agreement with the New Orleans Saints.

Somewhere between his visit to Arrowhead and deciding to visit with the Saints, where he spent 2013-2015, things fell apart for one side or another. Fans will likely never know what happened behind the surface to ruin the deal, but you can count on one of the following:

  1. The Chiefs, for some reason, got cold feet about Watson. This would be despite the fact that he’s been a productive performer well into his late thirties.
  2. Watson, for some reason, got cold feet. He settled for a one-year deal in New Orleans, so it’s not as if he got more security or a much better offer, but when word leaked of a potential deal in K.C. (more on this in a second), it could have forced the Saints to up their offer at least.
  3. K.C. was used as leverage on the open market. Typically this is connected to the worst teams in the league, such as how Kirk Cousins used the New York Jets’ interest to up his asking price, but this time, it looks like the Chiefs might have been used to generate a few more dollars for Watson next year.

If anything, the third and final option rings the most true. Perhaps Ian Rapoport was leaked that a deal was in the works and announced as much without it being really true. Perhaps there was interest and maybe some discussion, but saying a deal is being worked out puts pressure on both the Chiefs and any other interested parties.

Think about this: if the Chiefs put out a report correcting the false idea that the deal is in the works, they likely undermine their own efforts. After all, they likely want a deal done in the end, so saying something is technically not true isn’t a battle worth fighting when midstream in negotiations. That said, not saying anything allows other teams to call the agent and say, “Hey, I thought you’d at least give us a chance to best the offer.”

Of course, every bit of this is conjecture. The Chiefs had something in the works to some degree with a back-up tight end and they didn’t get him. In the end, that’s all that matters—that Brett Veach has his sights on further help on offense. That means we’re likely to see future free agent visits in the weeks ahead.