The Kansas City Chiefs are hoping to work out a compromise with wide receiver Sammy Watkins to bring him back in 2020.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Kansas City Chiefs wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl without Sammy Watkins. He’s also worth nowhere near his pending $21 million cap charge.
This leaves Chiefs general manager Brett Veach in a tough spot. Veach, who is trying to re-sign defensive tackle Chris Jones and eventually extend demigod quarterback Patrick Mahomes later this offseason, has to consider cutting Watkins and saving $14 million an option.
However, Veach plans to speak with agent Tory Dandy, Watkins’ representation, about ways to broker a compromise before free agency begins on March 16.
Here are the potential avenues:
- The Chiefs cut Watkins as stated above. They eat $7 million in dead money this season and save $14 million, which would almost be enough to cover the franchise tag for Jones should it come to pass.
- The Chiefs ask Watkins to take a paycut, and he refuses. Few players ever take a straight pay reduction, especially 26-year-old receivers who had 14 catches, 288 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs. In this case, Watkins would hit the market with plenty to offer.
- Watkins and the Chiefs agree to an extension. This allows Kansas City to lower the 2020 cap figure by spreading the money out. Veach would add guaranteed money into the contract, making it worth Watkins’ while to stay in town.
All of these options have potential drawbacks for both sides, but each remains firmly in play. The Chiefs already have receiver Demarcus Robinson hitting free agency as well, so if Watkins is gone, there’s little depth behind Tyreek Hill and second-year man Mecole Hardman.
If Watkins hits the open market, he’ll be a valuable commodity given his age and production, despite his myriad injuries.