The Kansas City Chiefs have an interesting offseason ahead, when Patrick Mahomes' record-setting contract kicks in and the franchise has significant maneuvering in order to get under the salary cap. Tough decisions have to be made in Kansas City, which involves potentially severing ties with key contributors of the Super Bowl LIV championship team.
Sammy Watkins won't be one of the cap casualties coming in Kansas City, since he's a free agent this offseason. The Chiefs are already having challenges bringing Watkins back, even if the veteran wideout won't command a high salary to stay in Kansas City.
"I love Sammy and love what he does for our offense. It will be a lot more challenging to retain him and bring him back this year just because of where we are," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach admitted on a Zoom call Monday. "We were able to work with him and his agent last year and make it work. This year will probably be even more difficult just because we'll have some work to do to get under the cap, and once we do, we have to see where the markets go."
Watkins has said he would like to stay in Kansas City, and a lower contract is expected after he had a career-low 421 yards and 11.4 yards per catch this season (37 receptions). Watkins is fine with a lower salary, admitting he plays to "win Super Bowls."
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Kansas City ideally would like to keep Watkins, but the Chiefs have play-makers to compensate for the loss if they were to move on. Veach is definitely preparing for the possibility.
"We're certainly blessed to have Tyreek Hill and expecting big things out of Mecole Hardman this year and I think we're all excited about the development of Byron Pringle. So, we feel really good about those three players and I think in free agency we'll be smart and if something makes sense for us, we'll do what we do every year and listen," Veach said. "I can't see us running out of the gates the first week in free agency to sign a receiver. I don't think that's where we're at, but if the market falls and things make sense for us, I think we'll be smart and selective. Then, if something doesn't work out in free agency, I think there's depth in that position to address it potentially in the draft."