Love him or not, wide receiver Sammy Watkins played a huge part in helping the K.C. Chiefs get to and win a Super Bowl in 2019 and had been one of the top playoff performers in the entire NFL over the last few seasons. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach has admired Watkins for a long time, which is why he made him one of the most well-paid wideouts in the league before the 2018 season. While Watkins hasn’t been worth the money in the eyes of many fans because of injuries, he definitely made his money in the postseason multiple times.
However, the 2020 season told a different story. This past year, Watkins hauled in 421 yards and 2 TDs on 37 receptions in 10 games played. Those are some pretty underwhelming stats for someone who was making $9 million in 2020. Even more disappointing is that “Playoff Sammy” was a no-show in 2020. Watkins missed the first two postseason games against the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills with a calf injury and then played just 14 snaps in the Super Bowl where he was limited to one reception for 13 yards.
In his three seasons with the Chiefs, Watkins played 10 games in 2018, 14 games in 2019, and then 10 games again in 2020. That has been the main knock on Watkins his entire career is that he can’t stay healthy, and that’s remained true with Kansas City. Many ignored it, though, as Watkins has always been productive whenever he’s actually on the field. That made retaining him after his incredible Super Bowl LIV performance a sensible decision. Veach and the Chiefs were lucky to get Watkins back in 2020 at a reduced number thanks to his willingness to take a pay cut, but even with the reduction in pay it appears that Watkins may not be worth it.
The problem is that Veach and the Chiefs organization have always been enamored with Watkins, and Veach himself even said in a Zoom conference call last week that the team would “try” to resign him. At what point do we say “enough is enough”?
K.C. Chiefs need to think clearly when it comes to their love for Sammy Watkins.
Watkins hasn’t shown enough to warrant another contract from the Chiefs. Heck, he hasn’t even showed up enough. It’s one thing when you’re missing regular season games but showing up in the playoffs; it’s another thing when you aren’t even there for the playoffs. At that point, what are you doing for the team? Yes, Watkins is a very talented player, but there are plenty of players who can do what Watkins does and likely for a better price.
The Chiefs can find another receiver who is more dependable than Watkins. Some potential free agent options could be Marvin Jones or Corey Davis. The team could also very likely draft a new receiver this offseason. The Chiefs can also lean more on in-house options like Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman. All of those options could be better than paying Watkins again.
What if Watkins is willing to come back for less once again? That would probably be the only way he comes back. The Chiefs just can’t afford to give him $9 million again or anything close to that. The highest the Chiefs should go with Watkins is about $3-4 million—otherwise it’s time to move on. Honestly, it may just be time to move on regardless of the number because the Watkins schtick has worn out with a lot of fans by now and fresher legs may be a better way to go.
Regardless of what we think, the team likes Watkins and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they brought him back again. Nevertheless, Veach and the Chiefs need to be careful given the fact this is a big offseason as far as making sure the team can build a roster that’s good enough to get back to the Super Bowl with cap space being limited.