The Chiefs would save $14 million by cutting Sammy Watkins, and his cap hit with the current contract is $21 million. And the Chiefs have many contracts to consider other than his in 2020.
Contracts that take priority include:
●Chris Jones (Jones is probably the most important contract to keeping the SuperBowl core intacts besides Mahomes, just look at how much the Rams valued inside pass rush when they signed Aaron Donald, and Jones contract is up NOW, as compared to Pat who still has one more year on his rookie deal.
●Mike Pennel, Emmanuel Ogbah, and Xavier Williams(all unrestricted free agents)
●The entire CB squad (Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, and Mo Claiborne are unrestricted free agents). Only Rashad Fenton, a 6thround rookie and Charvarius Ward, an undrafted free agent signee are under contract and still on their rookie deals, which they both have massively out performed. Eventually their paydays will come.
●LB core is a lesser priority, but still a priority nonetheless. Damien Wilson, Darron Lee Reggie Ragland are all unrestricted this coming season.
●OL Cameron Erving has a club option and Stefan Wisniewski is unrestricted. These two came up really big this year when the injury bug struck the Offensive Line, with “Wiz” starting every game and playing every offensive snap the Chiefs had, while Erving started 8 games and logged snaps in 13. The “wizard of Arrowhead park” was a clutch contributor to this Chiefs team, earning his second ring and cementing himself in the rotation of what might be the most important job in football, protecting Patrick Mahomes.
Demarcus Robinson will also be an unrestricted free agent. If both Sammy and Demarcus leave, Tyreek and Kelce will find it harder to beat double or triple coverages and Mecole Hardman would have to mature very quickly. The Chiefs don’t seem to have a standout RB (Damien Wilson is good but more of a RB by committee type and has a club option coming up this year). Darwin Thompson isn’t big enough to be an every down back, even if he plays like he showed he could in the preseason.
So where does that leave Watkins?-“I don’t want to say I will be (open to a pay cut). I don’t want to say I won’t” Sammy told NFL.com. “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 (Mahomes), 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.” Sammy feels that besides his TD and yards stats, he brings a lot of intangibles to the team, including energy, positivity, a strong work ethic, and professionalism. And those qualities combined with his performance should be valued.
So though Watkins appears to be flexible, the degree of flexibility remains to be seen. But if he can accept a reasonable pay cut through an extension to minimize his cap hit, he and the Chiefs could have a long and fruitful relationship.