Sammy Watkins

This Date In Transactions History: 2014 NFL Draft

The first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft took place seven years ago today. While there was plenty of hype heading into the first day of the draft, surely no one expected the first round to produce so many accomplished players. Among the 32 individuals who heard their name called on May 8, 2014, 17 of those players eventually earned Pro Bowl nods. That’s not shabby.

From a transactions standpoint, there were five trades completed on that Thursday evening, with the Browns and Vikings starring in a handful of the deals. While there were whispers that the first-overall pick could get traded from Houston, the Texans ultimately kept the selection and drafted Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1.

The first trade of the evening was between the Browns and Bills. Cleveland wanted to move back to select a cornerback, so they sent No. 4 to Buffalo for No. 9, a future first, and a future fourth. The Bills ended up selecting wideout Sammy Watkins. As the first round continued to progress, the Browns apparently didn’t feel comfortable staying at No. 9. So, they packaged that selection and a future fifth-round pick to the Vikings for the No. 8 pick, and they proceeded to select cornerback Justin Gilbert. The Vikings selected linebacker Anthony Barr with their new selection.

The Saints later got into the action, acquiring the No. 20 pick from the Cardinals to select receiver Brandin Cooks. New Orleans sent Arizona No. 27 and No. 91, with the Cards selecting safety Deone Bucannon with that first-round selection.

The Browns made another trade later in the night, this time in pursuit of a quarterback. Cleveland traded No. 26 and No. 83 to Philly in exchange for No.22…and the Browns ultimately selected quarterback Johnny Manziel. Really, the writing was on the wall with that selection; the team had previously drafted two other QB busts (Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn) at that same spot in the draft.

The last trade of the evening once again featured the Vikings. Minnesota acquired the No. 32 pick from the Seahawks for picks No. 40 and No. 108. The Vikings used their new selection on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

It was surely an entertaining evening, with Cleveland serving as the star of the show. However, fast forward to today, and Browns fans are surely still shaking their head at how everything unfolded.

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Ravens To Sign WR Sammy Watkins

After making multiple offers to big-name wide receivers, the Ravens will soon have one under contract. Sammy Watkins agreed to terms with the Ravens on Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The former Bills, Rams and Chiefs wideout will sign a one-year deal worth $6MM, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com noting (via Twitter) the deal will include $5MM fully guaranteed. This will signal a major shift for Watkins, earnings- and scheme-wise.

Baltimore has been hunting high-profile wideouts for a bit now. The Ravens offered more money to JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.Y. Hilton, only to see those players opt to re-sign with the Steelers and Colts, respectively. Kenny Golladay also landed on the Ravens’ radar, but the ex-Lions target received a big-ticket offer from the Giants and committed to New York. The Ravens hosted Watkins on a visit, and the talented but injury-prone pass catcher will head to Baltimore to join an offense in need of aerial help.

Watkins will pair with Marquise Brown on the NFL’s run-heaviest offense. It will certainly represent a change for the former No. 4 overall pick, who operated as the No. 2 receiver on one of the most explosive passing attacks in NFL history. The Chiefs were interested in keeping Watkins, but it did not sound like re-signing him was a must for the two-time reigning AFC champions. Watkins signed a monster accord with the Chiefs in 2018 — a three-year, $48MM deal that affected the NFL’s wideout market — and delivered in spurts, even though he did not end up living up to that lofty contract.

The Chiefs received some crucial Watkins contributions in the playoffs, with the former Clemson star surpassing 75 receiving yards in four of the six postseason games he played with Kansas City. However, Watkins also missed time due to injury in each of his three seasons in Missouri, sitting out 14 regular-season games as a Chief. He missed two playoff games this past season as well and has not topped 700 receiving yards in a season since 2015, when he compiled a career-high 1,047 — in a Bills run-heavy offense featuring Tyrod Taylor.

Still, Watkins is only heading into his age-28 season and will provide a high-end talent for a Ravens offense that has been limited at receiver since Lamar Jackson took the reins in 2018. It should not be ruled out Baltimore will further address the position in the draft, but after the team struck out on acquiring veteran starters, Watkins will lessen the burden on the front office to land a proven receiver.

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Sammy Watkins To Visit Colts, Titans And Texans Interested

We heard earlier today that Sammy Watkins was on his way to visit the Ravens, but Baltimore is going to face competition for his services. Watkins will visit the Colts on Wednesday after the Ravens, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Additionally, Schefter reports that Watkins has drawn interest from the Titans and Texans. It’s a sudden flurry of attention for Watkins, who we hadn’t heard much about prior to today. There was reportedly some mutual interest between Watkins and the Chiefs in spending one more year together back in February, but then at the beginning of this month Kansas City GM Brett Veach indicated it’d be hard to work financially.

The Colts make plenty of sense as a destination, since right now it’s very uncertain whether free agent T.Y. Hilton will be back in 2021. Indy has youngsters Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell under contract, but the receiver room could use some help. The Titans just lost Corey Davis to the Jets, and need a new number two behind A.J. Brown.

The Texans just lost Will Fuller, so all of these teams are natural fits. Watkins has never quite lived up to his potential, but if he can stay healthy he can really help a team. He had 37 catches for 421 yards and two touchdowns across ten games in a secondary role for the Chiefs last year.

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Sammy Watkins To Visit Ravens

The Ravens could be close to making a big addition to their receiving room. Sammy Watkins is on his way to Baltimore to visit with the team, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

We initially heard right before the Super Bowl that there was mutual interest between Watkins and the Chiefs on a new deal, but then a few weeks ago Kansas City GM Brett Veach made it sound like it’d be hard to work financially, and obviously nothing has materialized. Before this, we haven’t heard of much interest in Watkins since free agency opened as the receiver market was slow to develop initially.

Things appear to be picking up though, with Kenny Golladay and Will Fuller both signing in recent days, and Watkins could be the next domino to fall. As Rapoport points out, the Ravens have been looking to add a wideout in free agency as their group of pass-catchers for Lamar Jackson last year was a bit underwhelming.

Meanwhile, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets that there are a couple of connections on Baltimore’s staff. Ravens pass game specialist Keith Williams has been Watkins’ personal receivers coach, and Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman coached Watkins in Buffalo.

Baltimore reportedly offered JuJu Smith-Schuster more money, but he chose to re-sign with the Steelers instead. The fourth overall pick of the 2014 draft, Watkins has never quite lived up to his potential but he’s capable of being a very solid player when healthy. In a down year in 2020, he had 37 catches for 421 yards and two touchdowns across ten games. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything more.

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Chiefs GM Brett Veach On Mahomes, OL, Watkins

The Chiefs are coming off a very disappointing Super Bowl loss, and although they’re coming off back to back AFC titles, they know they’ve got some work to do this offseason. GM Brett Veach met with the media on Monday, and dished on what lies ahead.

Perhaps most notably, Veach provided an update on Patrick Mahomes. Everything appears to have gone smoothly with Mahomes’ foot surgery, as the GM said he’ll definitely be ready for training camp and the team is hoping he can participate in mandatory minicamp in June. Mahomes was hobbled down the stretch, but it doesn’t sound like this is going to be an issue of much importance for 2021.

Kansas City’s offensive line (deservedly so) took a lot of blame for the Super Bowl loss, and Veach acknowledged it’s a priority. He highlighted the two COVID-19 opt-outs the team had on the O-line, as well as the loss of left tackle Eric Fisher in the AFC Championship Game, but made it clear the team wasn’t going to stand pat.

“From the offset here, the draft looks to be really talented on the offensive line. So I think it’ll be a combination of what we have in-house and blending that in with some new talent. Potentially in free agency and potentially in the draft,” Veach said, via Charles Goldman of the Chiefs Wire.

Speaking of the offensive line, Veach said that right tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who was limited to six games in 2020, had disk surgery on his back and the team is hopeful he’ll be ready for training camp as well. He said the same thing about Fisher, although that might be a bit of a reach considering he’s coming off a torn Achilles at 30.

Finally, Veach talked about the receiving corp and specifically Sammy Watkins. He said it would take more work than it did last year to bring Watkins back, which could be GM-speak for the team being likely to move on. Veach said the team feels good about Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle and that “I can’t see us running out of the gates in the first week of free agency and signing a receiver,” via Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link).

The last we heard was right before the Super Bowl, when there was apparently mutual interest between Watkins and the Chiefs in sticking together, but it sounds like it might be an uphill battle to get it to work financially. Watkins took a pay-cut last April to stay with the team for 2020.

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Mutual Interest Between Sammy Watkins, Chiefs On New Contract

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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Antonio Brown, Sammy Watkins On Track For Super Bowl

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins participated in the Chiefs’ Wednesday practice, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, the Bucs also had one of their most dangerous weapons on hand. Antonio Brown practiced with the Buccaneers, though he was kept to light work as he recovers from a knee injury. 

Watkins has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career and hasn’t played a full 16-game season since his rookie campaign with the Bills back in 2014. Despite that, he remains a serious threat for any opposing defense. This year, Watkins was limited to nine regular season games and finished out with a modest 37/421/2 stat line. If his calf heals up in time for the Super Bowl, it’ll mark his first appearance in this year’s playoffs.

Brown missed the NFC championship game, but the Buccaneers still managed to edge the Packers and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl. In the regular season, the 32-year-old caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns. His best game came in Week 17, when he hauled in eleven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns as Mike Evans was held out.

Fortunately, Brown did not suffer serious structural damage, so the Bucs are hopeful that he can play. It also helps that they kept him grounded a couple of weeks ago to prevent additional swelling at higher altitude. If things keep going in this direction, Brown will be cleared for the second Super Bowl of his career.

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Injury Updates: Goff, Rams, Murray, Cardinals, 49ers, Mixon, Bengals, Watkins, Chiefs, Edelman, Patriots

Things have gotten ugly for Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense the last couple of weeks, with back to back losses to the Jets and Seahawks in which Goff played poorly. Making matters worse, Los Angeles’ quarterback dislocated and broke his thumb during the loss to Seattle. It looks like there are a wide range of outcomes moving forward, with everything from Goff playing this Sunday to being out for the remainder of the season being on the table. Goff will require surgery on the thumb at some point but he’s hoping to push it back until after the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (Twitter video link).

Rapsheet says that Goff is “adamant” about pushing to play in Week 17 and that he at least has a “shot” to be under center. If the Bears lose to the Packers on Sunday then the Rams are in the playoffs no matter what, but if Chicago beats Green Bay then the Rams will need to beat the Cardinals to get in. It sounds like Goff is going to try to push through and suit up for the playoffs even if he isn’t able to be out there on Sunday. Goff is meeting with specialist Dr. Steven Shin today, the same doctor who treated Drew Brees‘ thumb injury last year, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Obviously Brees missed a handful of games with that injury last year, although hopefully for the Rams this isn’t as severe. If Goff is forced to miss the game against Arizona, it’ll mean the first regular season NFL action for former Wake Forest and AAF star John Wolford.

Here are more health issues from around the league entering the final week of the season:

  • Goff isn’t the only banged up quarterback in this pivotal game. Kyler Murray has already dealt with a lingering shoulder injury this season, and he also hurt his leg at the end of Arizona’s Week 16 loss to San Francisco. Speaking to the media Monday head coach Kliff Kingsbury was vague, only deeming it a “lower leg” injury and saying they won’t put Murray out there if he can’t be effective. If the Cards win on Sunday, they’re in. If they don’t, they’re out. In a game of this magnitude, you have to figure Murray is going to play if it’s at all possible, but right now Kingsbury is saying it’s up in the air. This will be a situation to monitor closely, but either way it sounds like Murray is going to be at less than 100 percent against Aaron Donald and co.
  • One last dispatch from the NFC West. The 49ers picked up an upset of the Cardinals, but their injury-plagued season continued. They dropped at least two more starters, as rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams both won’t play in Week 17 due to injuries they suffered against Arizona, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Shanahan also said he’d be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo plays this weekend, meaning C.J. Beathard should get another crack at it. Aiyuk has flashed a lot of promise, and 49ers fans have to be excited about his 2021 potential. It’s possible we’ve seen Garoppolo play his last snap as a 49er.
  • Joe Mixon‘s 2020 campaign is officially in the books. The Bengals running back won’t play this weekend, head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday. Mixon hasn’t played since all the way back in Week 6 due to a foot injury, but the team kept insisting he was only week to week this whole time. Mixon signed a four-year, $48MM extension back in September, so he’s in Cincy for the long-haul.
  • Chiefs fans can breathe a little easier. Receiver Sammy Watkins went down with a calf injury yesterday, but Rapoport tweets it isn’t believed to be major. Given Watkins’ injury history, that’s a big relief. Rapoport writes that Watkins will rest in Week 17, but that there’s a “good chance” he’s back for Kansas City’s first playoff game.
  • Another player whose season, and quite possibly career, is over: Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. Rapoport tweets that Edelman won’t be activated for tonight’s Monday Night Football showdown with the Bills, and that it’s “unlikely” he plays next week either. Edelman is under contract for next season but he’ll turn 35 in May, so it’s entirely fair to wonder whether he’ll end up retiring. The legendary Patriot, who has spent all 12 years of his career in New England, was limited to only six games this year due to a knee injury.

Chiefs Place Mitchell Schwartz On IR

Mitchell Schwartz has seen his iron-man run stop this season, having missed time due to injury. The Chiefs will now be without their ace right tackle for a while.

Kansas City placed Schwartz on IR Saturday. This move will sideline the All-Pro blocker for at least three more games. Schwartz is dealing with a back injury — one that has shelved him since Week 6.

Prior to the October injury, Schwartz had not missed a game in eight seasons. He had started four years with the Browns and another four with the Chiefs. Kansas City gave Schwartz an extension in the process, relying on his stability as Eric Fisher underwent surgery last season. Both Fisher and Schwartz landed on Kansas City’s reserve/COVID-19 list recently, but Fisher will be back in action against Las Vegas. Schwartz will not.

The Chiefs also removed Mecole Hardman from their reserve/COVID list. They had placed the second-year wideout on the virus list last week. Hardman should play a key role against the Raiders, with Sammy Watkins set to miss the AFC West rivals’ Week 11 rematch.

Kansas City is also activating Alex Okafor and defensive back L’Jarius Sneed from IR. Okafor worked as a starter last season, but a midseason injury knocked him out for the team’s Super Bowl push. A hamstring injury sidelined Okafor this season. A fourth-round rookie, Sneed played well early this year but suffered a broken collarbone in September. Okafor will help out a Chiefs pass rush that will be without Taco Charlton for a while. The Chiefs placed the offseason acquisition on IR Saturday.

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Chiefs Place DE Alex Okafor On IR

While they cannot match their Sunday opponent for impactful injuries, the Chiefs will enter Week 7 missing some key players.

Alex Okafor will miss Sunday’s tilt in Denver and at least two more contests. The Chiefs placed the veteran defensive end on IR Saturday. Okafor has encountered a hamstring issue.

Okafor, All-Pro right tackle Mitchell Schwartz and wideout Sammy Watkins are out Sunday for the Chiefs. Okafor will land on IR for the second straight season. The Chiefs placed the 2019 free agent acquisition on IR after 10 games last season, with a torn pec preventing the veteran pass rusher from playing during the team’s Super Bowl push.

Okafor’s latest injury is not as severe, but it will test Kansas City’s depth a bit. The Chiefs are also without 2020 free agent get Taco Charlton this week. The defending Super Bowl champs have used contract-year defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon ahead of Okafor on their depth chart this season. After Okafor started nine games in 2019, he has worked as a rotational rusher this year. Okafor has a half-sack in 2020.

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