At the recent NFL scouting combine, general manager Brett Veach teased what was ahead for the Kansas City Chiefs when he said it would be "fun" surrounding new starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and his big throwing arm with talent.
Only Veach and perhaps a select group of others could have known then just how much fun the Chiefs would soon be having in that pursuit.
Grade: B. The Chiefs needed to upgrade at inside linebacker and decided Hitchens was best suited among the free agents to fill the spot. They deserve credit for securing their top target.’
When grading something like this, you have to take into consideration both the benefit from Watkins’s side and the risk taken by Kansas City. Watkins has flashed moments of absolute brilliance throughout his career in Buffalo and Los Angeles, but he’s had to balance his desire to be an Odell Beckham-esque, 10-target-per-game player with lingering health issues and serious changes in offensive scheme.
The Rams gambled on Watkins and his expiring contract by sending a second-rounder to Buffalo for the chance to pair him with quarterback Jared Goff, who struggled as a rookie in 2016. Watkins pulled in just 39 receptions on 70 targets for 593 yards (15.2 yards per reception) and eight touchdowns in 15 games. Yet, he often drew the top opposing cornerbacks and created favorable coverage matchups for Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Todd Gurley.
WR Sammy Watkins joins Chiefs
Watkins has the tools that teams love because he has good size and can run. But the productivity hasn't been there. He caught 39 passes last year after the Rams traded to get him, which isn't a lot. But he did have eight touchdown catches. Even so, the Chiefs paid a lot of money for potential rather than production. He is only 24, so there is time. This could be a boom-or-bust signing. There might not be an in-between. Paying him $48 million for four years is a bit risky.
Going into this past season, I pretty much knew.
I mean, I had to know, right? With everything I’ve experienced so far in my career, I probably understand the “business” of football as well as anyone. And trading up to take a quarterback in the draft isn’t exactly a subtle move as to the future of a franchise. It was pretty obvious what that meant for me.
The Miami Dolphins will sign Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson to a three-year, $24 million deal Wednesday, according to a league source. Wilson, an unrestricted free agent, figures to be part of the solution to replacing wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who is headed to the Cleveland Browns.
Wide receiver Albert Wilson posted the highest average yards of separation at pass arrival during the regular season with 4.1 yards compared to the league average of 2.7. He also had a 75% catch rate when targeted from the wide alignment in the regular season.
Interior lineman Bennie Logan had the third best stuff rate among interior lineman at 13.4% on 32 run stuffs and the second highest disruption rate among the Kansas City Chiefs at 8.3% (second to Justin Houston).
Linebacker Junior Galette was the second fastest linebacker when recording a sack at 3.53 seconds on 3.0 sacks, second to Shaquil Barrett. He had the third highest pressure rate for an individual defender at 15.1%.
Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris served two days in jail last week after reaching a plea deal in Bates County for his marijuana arrest last year.
Harris, 26, was a passenger in a vehicle that stopped by the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Interstate 49 in Bates County last March. He was taken to Bates County Jail, where he was booked and later released.
Starting Monday, teams had a 48-hour window to negotiate with agents representing free agents from other teams, and the Texans are expected to make official Wednesday the signings of Jacksonville cornerback Aaron Colvin, Kansas City guard Zach Fulton and Buffalo offensive tackle Seantreal Henderson.
Rarely does a playoff team flip a switch so hard, but Kansas City did, and it did so rather successfully. It started with trading Alex Smith and anointing Patrick Mahomes as the new starting QB. Gone are Marcus Peters, Derrick Johnson and Albert Wilson. Arriving are Kendall Fuller, Anthony Hitchens and Sammy Watkins.
Fuller can end up being better than Peters all-around, and he will be much less of a headache for coach Andy Reid. Hitchens can make a ton of plays like Johnson did for many years, and at 25, he's a decade younger. Wilson had flashes as a complementary weapon to Tyreek Hill, but Watkins is capable of winning a track meet with Hill while streaking downfield to catch passes from Mahomes' cannon. Reid's team needed a reboot, and the Chiefs 2.0 are looking good.
Regardless, the Bears are expected to utilize multiple tight ends in Nagy’s offense as he seeks to identify and exploit matchups and incorporate the option game. The team’s hope is that Burton will give Nagy formational flexibility similarly to how All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce did for the Chiefs last season.
Around the league
While NFL free agency doesn't officially begin until the league's new year starts on Wednesday at 4 p.m. rumors and news are beginning to flow regarding some big names.
Quarterback Sam Bradford intends to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, a source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Cardinals don't have any other quarterbacks under contract.
The Tennessee Titans have made their splash. They are expected to sign former Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. It’s a huge deal, totaling more than 30 million guaranteed.
This changes everything for the Titans going forward. Lewis has the capability to be a three down back. They might still draft a running back, but they aren’t doing it before Day 3 now.
The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees have struck a two-year deal worth $50 million, sources told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Jane Slater.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported this evening that free agent defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson has agreed to a contract with the Packers.
This makes 2018 the third straight season that the Packers signed a free agent tight end; they signed Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks in 2017 after bringing in Jared Cook on a one-year deal in 2016.
The ride is over for a fan favorite in Green Bay — at least for the time being. New general manager Brian Gutekunst has made the decision to release wide receiver Jordy Nelson.
NFL free agency 2018: Why the Jets signed Teddy Bridgewater | SB Nation
Bridgewater was one of the more intriguing quarterbacks who hit free agency this offseason. His ceiling is high and he showed promise before the injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of two full seasons. But he only played a handful of snaps last year, leaving plenty of questions about what type of player the Jets are actually getting.
Johnson was graded as PFF’s 68th-ranked corner this year; though he did primarily match up against opposing top receivers. I had Johnson listed on a recent article as one of three big-name free agents for the Jets to steer clear of. $15M per year is a ton of money. We’ll see the guarantees and exact numbers soon, but as of right now that 15 number would tie with Josh Norman at the top of the list for corners.
The former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner has been struggling badly at the plate in the Mets' major league camp during spring training.
At Arrowhead Pride
When news broke that the Chiefs signed him to a three-year, $48 million deal, I was surprised that the Chiefs were going THAT all in on a receiver. But I didn’t know enough about Watkins as a player to make a real judgment. So it became time to turn on the film.
Why do I love the Chiefs signing Sammy Watkins?
The Chiefs could go into next season with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt and say they are among the best triplets in the NFL. Watkins adds to those weapons.
The Chiefs have already made big moves like trading Alex Smith and Marcus Peters and the release of Derrick Johnson. That has affected their needs entering free agency and eventually the draft. The Chiefs need help all over the defense, from the front seven to the secondary. Look for a focus there.
We are tracking all the Chiefs rumors and news below.