It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that wide receiver Sammy Watkins was gone after the Super Bowl last year from the Kansas City Chiefs. He got his ring. He was making a ton of money. The Chiefs needed to cut some cap space.
As it turns out, after a tumultuous offseason where pretty much only Randall Cobb got the money he was expecting for a wide receiver, Watkins is back on a restructured deal. While it is largely assumed this will be his final season in Kansas City given his restructure allows him to hit free agency next spring, it’s worth exploring whether there’s a case to bring Watkins back once again.
Watkins has thrived in this Kansas City offense and works best as an elite No. 2 receiver. He has shown glimpses, at times, that he can handle being an offense’s top wideout, but being the No. 2 guy—sometimes No. 3 behind tight end Kelce—opens up a lot of room for him and takes the pressure off.
As someone who has been injured a good amount throughout his career, not having to carry the weight to play through nagging injuries that could cause major issues helps. I think of him like a prized racehorse. If there is something off, he won’t go and that is fine. With wide receiver Tyreek Hill, Kelce, and the emergence of fellow wideout Mecole Hardman, Watkins can afford to take a game off to get right and avoid the potential catastrophic injury.
Watkins is the catalyst who takes the Chiefs offense to unreal heights. He is so explosive, when teams try to double Hill or key in on Kelce, Watkins can get his as we have seen on multiple occasions. Not only does Mahomes trust him, since he was practically the only guy that was productive early in some of the playoff games, but he has the veteran presence that can go unnoticed. He understands he could put up better numbers elsewhere but the injury concerns and lack of production when he was a No. 1 could be in the way of other teams making that move.