March 13, 2018. At the time of this writing, that was 51 weeks ago. That was also the day that Sammy Watkins came to Kansas City.
The money was good, still is really good. Watkins is one of the top paid receivers in the league, making more than Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and DeAndre Hopkins. I do not think there is much of an argument about if those three are better than Watkins. Granted, Watkins has the high-draft pick pedigree that they do, just the production does not match up.
Just to make the point even more, players like Buffalo Bills rookie Robert Foster and Washington Redskins "bust" Josh Doctson had slightly better seasons than Watkins. That is not great company to be in for a top-paid player.
Now, all this can be boiled down injuries. Watkins missed six regular season games and was questionable before many others. Smaller injuries surely piled up and hampered production as the season went along. Watkins did flash in games against Pittsburgh (6 rec., 100 yards) and Denver ( 8 rec., 107 yards, 2TD), but overall it was a disappointing first season.
With all the talk about the Justin Houston and Eric Berry's contracts, Watkins should be there too. Now, Watkins is pretty un-cutable this offseason, as the dead cap hit is $15,210,000 and actually has a negative cap savings, according to Spotrac. Watkins is not a person to get off the books now but maybe next season, as that dead cap hit lowers to $7,000,000. So good for him that he has another season to prove he is worth the money.
It may take a pretty phenominal season to keep Watkins around. Every move made now will affect other current Chiefs, like Tyreek Hill, Chris Jones and Patrick Mahommes. Even throw Kendall Fuller in there. But, if Watkins turns in a great season, should he finish out his contract in Kansas City? My answer is no. Not that he would not deserve it, but rather that it may not be possible.
As most news comes in the sports world, Ian Rapoport said that Kansas City has "begun negotiations with star WR Tyreek Hill".
While the #Chiefs plot moves for the 2019 season and beyond, they do have some big deals coming: They have begun negotiations with star WR Tyreek Hill on what’ll be a record-setting deal, source said. Along with tagging Dee Ford, shopping Justin Houston, that’s a consideration.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 5, 2019
Now how much is record setting you may wonder? That is Spotrac has more numbers.
Tyreek Hill’s baseline valuation comes in at 5 years, $95M, with $42M guaranteed at signing. It’s very possible those numbers push past $100M, & $45M when it’s all said and done. The #Chiefs offensive extension spree begins this spring.https://t.co/RLbmcBw2Di
— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 5, 2019
While Kansas City has cap room right now, that is going to vanish fast with extensions for Hill and Jones, mainly Hill. Thus, it makes sense to cut Watkins once Hill's new contract kicks in. The money will be similar and still leave the Chiefs wiggle room for other moves. Having two high-pay receivers while only getting production out of one does not make much sense.
Again, cutting Watkins is not a move this offseason, but next. The only reason why it matters now is because his production next season decides whether or not he is a cap casualty. Unless he has a record-setting season, I am leaning towards Watkins being gone next offseason. How do you think it will play out?