Sammy Watkins will be a free agent in March, with the former top-five pick’s current Chiefs agreement running through Super Bowl LV. While the veteran has struggled to stay healthy throughout his Kansas City tenure, he has emerged for some big performances in high-stakes spots.
The seventh-year wideout is on track to return for the Super Bowl after missing both prior Chiefs playoff games, but he could well head into free agency alongside receivers who have established more momentum and hit the market in a year in which the salary cap is expected to drop. Watkins agreed to a pay cut to stay with the Chiefs this season; the franchise’s success will impact his choice going forward.
“I would say, let’s win this Super Bowl and see where my head will be at,” Watkins said, via ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher. “It would definitely be something to think about. It would definitely be something I would talk to my wife and my kids about, to think about coming back. Would I love a third ring? For sure. I would definitely not say no about it.”
One of Brett Veach‘s first big moves as GM was giving Watkins a surprising $16MM-per-year contract. While the former Bills draftee did not live up to that deal on a statistical basis, failing to top 700 receiving yards in any of his three Chiefs seasons, Watkins delivered in the 2018 and ’19 playoffs. The former Clemson star has surpassed 60 yards in each of his five Chiefs playoff games, going north of 75 in his past four. The 27-year-old No. 2 wideout missed six games this season, however, due to multiple injuries and only caught 37 passes for 421 yards.
The Chiefs reached high-profile extensions with Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones and Travis Kelce last year, which will make big-ticket free agency acquisitions sparser going forward. But Watkins will almost certainly command far less than he did in 2018. If the sides can likely agree on a lower number, Veach is interested in bringing Watkins back.
“Sammy is a big part of this offense. When he’s healthy, we’re better,” Veach said, via Teicher (on Twitter). “If there’s a way we can make it work again, we’ll certainly try to do that. I love having him around.”
Before any roster cuts, extensions or franchise tags commence, Watkins would be off the top tier of free agent receivers. Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, Allen Robinson, Will Fuller, Marvin Jones, Curtis Samuel, Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton and A.J. Green are also set for free agency. Not all be available come March, but this depth — and recent drafts producing several quick-study wideouts on rookie deals — stands to create a buyer’s market.
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