Sammy Watkins could return by Chiefs-Jets in Week 8

The Chiefs have decided against placing Sammy Watkins on injured reserve.

The Kansas City Chiefs have decided against placing wide receiver Sammy Watkins on the injured reserve list despite the fact that he’s missed practice all week with a hamstring injury.

Watkins came down with the hamstring issue in the team’s loss in Week 5 to the Las Vegas Raiders. Given his lack of availability this week, it’s clear that Watkins will sit out the team’s upcoming game on Monday night against the Buffalo Bills.

There are positives and negatives when it comes to the injured reserve decision for Watkins. On the plus side, the Chiefs apparently believe the severity of the injury could be minor enough that Watkins wouldn’t need to miss three full games for the team. A placement on IR means a player designated must sit out at least that length of time.

This means the Chiefs might be eyeing their game against the New York Jets in Week 8 as a potential time for a return. The Chiefs play the Bills on Monday and then the Denver Broncos in Week 7. If Watkins were to miss three full games, he would miss both of those as well as the Jets for a return in Week 9 against the Panthers. With this decision, however, Watkins could be back sooner—with a good idea being the Jets game and perhaps even the Broncos if he heals quickly.

The downside here is that the Chiefs are using up a spot on the active roster to keep Watkins around in the near future. This means the team can’t replace him with another player, which keeps things a bit less flexible when it comes to roster management. If somehow the hamstring injury ends up worse than expected, the Chiefs could see Watkins miss that much time only to have lost an opportunity to stash him on IR for the duration.

The upside of having Watkins back on the field sooner than later trumps any potential of opening up that roster spot, so Brett Veach and the Chiefs have made the right decision here—if indeed Watkins feels pretty good about his ability to come back in relatively short order. The Jets game would mean the losses were minimal during Watkins’ absence. Here’s hoping the Chiefs are right on that timeline.