Sammy Watkins agreed to a restructured contract to stay with the Chiefs this season, and he's worth drafting with a late-round pick as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver. He'll be the No. 2 receiver for Patrick Mahomes behind Tyreek Hill and the No. 3 option in the passing game behind Hill and Travis Kelce. Watkins looked like a potential Fantasy star in 2019 when he scored 46 PPR points in Week 1 against Jacksonville. Unfortunately, he scored double digits in PPR just three more times during the season, including no games over 13 PPR points. He did step up in the playoffs, catching 14 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown, and hopefully that's the receiver we see this year. He's had an up-and-down career since coming into the NFL in 2014 with Buffalo, but he can still be a decent Fantasy reserve in 2020 given his role with the Chiefs and Mahomes.
Watkins and Kansas City agreed Friday to a one-year, $9 million contract with up to an additional $7 million in incentives, Yahoo! Sports' Terez A. Paylor reports. Watkins would have counted $21 million against Kansas City's cap space under the original deal, which was signed in the last of its three years. There's probably something to infer from the fact that the Chiefs didn't extend Watkins -- he simply took a paycut on his one remaining year -- but with this restructured deal he's all but guaranteed to start in Kansas City another year. If he retains the same role as he did in 2019, Watkins would likely serve as the Chiefs' primary slot and underneath wideout target. It's a development that will likely delay the proper breakout of second-year wideout Mecole Hardman.
Watkins, who is slated to count $21 million against the Chiefs' salary cap this coming season, is a candidate to have his deal restructured, Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star reports. To that end, GM Brett Veach indicated Tuesday that the team plans to meet with the wideout's agent this week to discuss his existing contract. Per Veach, Watkins is a player the Chiefs wish to retain, but given the terms of the third and final year of his deal with the team, some sort of restructuring is clearly in order to make that a reality. Watkins' regular season line (52/673/3 through 14 games) wasn't special, but the 26-year-old was a key cog in both the AFC Championship game and Super Bowl LIV, producing 12 catches for 212 yards and a TD over those two Kansas City wins.
Watkins confirmed that he plans to play football in 2020, but he acknowledged that his future with the Chiefs is uncertain, SiriusXM NFL Radio reports. "I need some down time," Watkins said. "I'm gonna talk to coach Reid about it. I don't control the contracts, or the trade, or if they're gonna give me a better contract." Watkins said he's focused on his physical health, mental health and family, perhaps hinting that he could miss a portion of the offseason program to focus on more important aspects of life. It isn't entirely clear that it would be the Chiefs' offseason program rather than another team's, as Watkins is scheduled for a non-guaranteed $14 million base salary in the final season of a three-year contract. It's a hefty price for someone who averaged 4.2 targets over the final six games of the 2019 regular season, but a fair price for a guy with 464 receiving yards in his five playoff games for the Chiefs. A contract extension that lowers his 2020 cap hit might work for both parties, with Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reporting that the Chiefs are hopeful they can find a way to retain Watkins.
The Chiefs hope to retain Watkins for 2020, though his $14 million salary could make it difficult, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. The Chiefs will absorb a $7 million cap hit if Watkins is traded or released, compared to $21 million if he's retained under the current terms of his contract. The two sides could discuss a pay cut or an extension to lower his 2020 cap charge, with the latter presumably a more attractive option for the 26-year-old wide receiver. Watkins recently said he enjoys playing for the Chiefs, even though he's turned in modest averages of 6.0 targets and 49.7 receiving yards in 24 regular-season games with the team. He's been much more productive in five playoff appearances, however, averaging 4.8 catches for 92.8 yards on 6.8 targets, including a 5-98-0 receiving line in the Super Bowl LIV win over San Francisco. Prior to the game, Watkins said he would consider different options for the 2020 campaign, even mentioning that he could sit out for a season, though it wasn't clear if he was being serious. Fellow wideout Demarcus Robinson can become an unrestricted free agent in March, while 21-year-old Mecole Hardman should be ready for a larger role in his second pro season.
Watkins secured five of six targets for 98 yards during the Chiefs' 31-20 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday. Watkins was behind only to teammate Tyreek Hill in receiving yardage for the night, with the veteran wideout making several key catches throughout the contest. None was bigger than a 38-yard grab on 2nd-and-7 from the 49ers' 48 yard-line on the Chiefs' go-ahead scoring drive in the fourth quarter, a play that was followed by Damien Williams' five-yard touchdown grab one minute later. Watkins finished the regular season with a 52-673-3 line through 14 games, with his reception tally qualifying as his highest since 2015. The 26-year-old is signed through next season, but he'd carry a cap hit of $21 million that is likely to force a restructure or even potential parting of the ways.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/20||@Los Angeles Chargers||3||16.13|
|4||10/04||New England Patriots||1||12.76|
|5||10/11||Las Vegas Raiders||22||22.63|
|8||11/01||New York Jets||25||23.50|
|11||11/23||@Las Vegas Raiders||22||22.63|
|12||11/29||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||32||27.63|
|15||12/20||@New Orleans Saints||27||24.71|
|17||01/03||Los Angeles Chargers||3||16.13|
|3 Year Avg||72||44||595||5||29||13.52||91|