If you’ve been following along with some of my offseason ideas on how the Chiefs could approach free agency, you’ve probably noticed two things: conservative tendencies and an affinity for compensatory picks.
The 2019 second-round pick that the Chiefs acquired for Marcus Peters makes compensatory picks slightly less critical to loading up on assets for a big offseason next year. I would still like them to come away with two or three if possible.
I’ve mentioned previously the Chiefs can maximize their ability to get extra picks by signing from the pool of free agents that were released this offseason and limiting themselves to at most one signing that would significantly impact the compensatory formula.
The Chiefs will likely use the majority of eight selections in the draft on defense. They also have the ability to make some moves in free agency to help support the defense. I think Matt Stagner did an excellent job of putting the current roster into perspective. The defense should be better next year with additions already made and the draft alone.
It’s been widely assumed that any big moves should be made to help the defense. While I don’t disagree necessarily, there are some tempting options that have recently hit the open market on the offensive side of the football.
Ironically, both are wide receivers, and both will still be 24 when they sign their next contract.
Age is an important factor to me when I’m considering signing a free agent. The younger they are, the more upside there is to the player. Two wide receivers who did not get a franchise tag from their previous team make a ton of sense for the Chiefs.
Both players were scouted while Brett Veach and a majority of this scouting department were already in Kansas City. They are both only a few months older than draft hopeful Byron Pringle, a wide receiver from Kansas State. They are younger than a few players that will be selected in April. They are two of the youngest free agents on the market, and are likely still ascending. I would take a look at them.
This is probably on the optimistic side of what they’d be able to do signing a player. Robinson turns 25 in August. He’s very young, still, and has a 1,400-yard season under his belt with Blake Bortles throwing him the football.
Robinson is a special talent. Injuries have plagued him recently, missing all but a few plays of the 2017 season. The Chiefs certainly can’t win a bidding war, and this is not a move I expect. However, this is one player I would be very interested in the Chiefs adding. He’s an exception to my conservative approach to 2018. Adding Robinson into the mix as an X receiver would help Patrick Mahomes.
Supporting your young quarterback with a player like Robinson is never a bad thing. Mahomes would be surrounded by a lot of talent. It would be hard for this team to fail offensively. Robinson will likely be too rich for the Chiefs’ blood, but he is someone I would be thrilled to see them invest in.
This is someone I believe would make a ton of sense for the Chiefs, even with their cap constraints. Watkins doesn’t turn 25 until June. He is talented, even though injuries have kept him from playing just 52 of 64 games in his career.
He’s averaged an incredible 15.9 yards per catch in his career and is coming off a 593-yard, eight-touchdown season. Watkins is a threat to win down the field and that would be an excellent trait to add to this roster. Tyreek Hill averaged 15.8 yards per catch in 2017. Watkins average 15.2 yards.
Imagine having Hill and Watkins on opposite sides of the field with a guy like Patrick Mahomes throwing the football. There are vertical threats on the outside and more space for Travis Kelce to work in the middle of the field.
Teams would be stretched thin. A trio of receivers that can terrify you down the field could open up a lot of different things for this team.
Veach alluded to the idea of adding another vertical threat at the combine:
“Look, Pat has a cannon. Everybody wants fast receivers. But knowing you have a quarterback that really doesn’t have a limit in how far he can throw is a good thing. They are highly coveted throughout the league, but I’m sure yes, we will be in that market.”
Watkins is not far removed from being the fourth-overall pick in the 2014 draft. Mahomes and the Chiefs are a situation that could maximize his talents as a downfield receiver, and give him the space to have more success than he’s had to this point in his career. It could also allow him to continue to develop his route tree without the attention he’s been given in the past.
Watkins and Robinson are examples of a unique situation in which I would consider investing in a bigger-name free agent. The youth they still possess, the upside they still have and their ability to help and be helped by Mahomes make them very intriguing targets.
Watkins shouldn’t command the same kind of contract I expect Robinson to get. He very well could fall in line with the Chiefs’ cap situation in terms of value. I would be intrigued by the idea of adding Watkins to this team, and it might actually be feasible.