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Watkins wants to stay with Chiefs and Reid, would consider pay cut

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The Chiefs wide receiver spoke to NFL.com on Thursday

Kansas City Chiefs Media Availability Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins says he wast to stay with the team — especially head coach Andy Reid — and would even consider being paid less money to do so.

On Thursday, Watkins was quoted in an extensive interview published on NFL.com.

With one season left on his contract, Watkins hopes he’s in the Chiefs’ long-term plans but isn’t fretting his future days before the Super Bowl.

”You never know. I have a lot of dreams and a lot of things I want to do. But hopefully I am here for the next...” he paused, considering “...until coach Reid retires. When he goes, I’m going to go. So, if I’m here a long time, I would definitely want to be here. And if I’m not, I’m going to take my dreams somewhere else and make the best of it.”

According to the article, Watkins would even consider a pay cut to remain with the team.

Watkins said Thursday that taking a pay cut might be something he’d be open to if it kept him employed in the place he’s finally found peace. The wideout pointed out he’s aware Patrick Mahomes needs to get paid.

”I don’t want to say I will be (open to a pay cut). I don’t want to say I won’t,” he said. “I just think I’m a special player. I think I deserve all the things I deserve. If I’m at home and thinking about it, if I have to do it to pay Pat, I maybe will. That’s a guy that we should pay, and he needs to get paid. But you never know, that’s a decision I’d have to go through.”

Of course, when NFL players talk about a “pay cut,” what they’re actually referring to is generally a contact restructure that will pay them roughly the same amount of money — but in a way that helps a team solve salary cap problems. In 2020, Watkins will be in the last season of a three-year deal that will take up $21 million of Kansas City’s salary cap space.

The Chiefs could save $14 million of that space by cutting Watkins — but to do so, they’ll have to eat $7 million in dead money next season. Since it will be final year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the team will not be able to designate Watkins as a post-June 1 cut, which would allow them to spread some of that dead money into the 2021 seacon — as they did last year when they released safety Eric Berry.

As we’ve previously noted in these pages, Watkins’ rich contract has been an issue since he was signed to the team. Many fans feel he has never been worth it — and expect him to be cut in the coming offseason. Based on his regular-season production, they have a compelling argument.

But it’s also true that through two postseason runs with the Chiefs, Watkins has been a substantial contributor. With another big performance in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers — and a renegotiated contract — it’s possible he could remain with the team for 2020 and beyond.