Sammy Watkins is one of the Kansas City Chiefs biggest early off-season question marks. The Chiefs should trade or cut Sammy.
Watkins is due a $21 million cap hit in 2020 as of today and the Chiefs can not afford that. Not only can the Chiefs not afford that, but Sammy has not earned that salary. In his two seasons in KC, Sammy has 92 regular season catches for 1,192 yards and six touchdowns. He’s continued his history of injuries as he has missed eight games in two years. In two playoff runs with the Chiefs he’s been great, putting up 24 receptions for 464 yards and one touchdown in five games. Every Chiefs’ fan has the lasting memory of him burning Richard Sherman for 38 yards to setup the go-ahead touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Sammy has his pros and cons, but everyone can agree he’s not going to play for the Chiefs in 2020 for $21 million. So, this begs the question, what should the Chiefs do with him? The realistic options include restructuring his contract and giving him an extension, trading him, or cutting him.
I am against restructuring his contract because it is kicking the money can down the road. If I’m scared to pay someone this season, I don’t want to be paying him in three seasons. Sammy hasn’t shown up enough to warrant that contract. We all know he will miss at least two games a season and a high likelihood he’ll miss more. That injury risk is not someone I want having money on my cap for the next three years.
That risk is even greater when you realize the reward is minimal. His regular seasons have been bad for what he was paid. As a third or fourth option in the offense they are ok numbers, but when you add his cap number it isn’t good. For as good as he was in the playoffs the last two seasons, he only has one touchdown. He’s made some other great plays and made some big first downs, but is all that worth over $10 million a year and the risk of injury?
The easy answer is no. The Chiefs need to bite the bullet and move on this off-season. The best case scenario would be that they find a trade partner and get some draft capital for Sammy. It would not be much, a sixth or seventh round pick likely, but anything is better than nothing. If I was Veach I would be reaching out to teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, and Oakland Raiders to gauge their interest. Teams who are desperate for wide receiver help.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there will be a lot of trade interest for Sammy on a one year $13 million deal when teams know the Chiefs are likely to move on from him. This means the most likely scenario is that in a few weeks when free agency starts the Chiefs release Sammy. They’ll save the $14 million in cap space and Sammy would be able to pick the best deal for him and his family going forward.
Sammy Watkins will be remembered fondly in Kansas City. His contract was bad and he was wildly overpaid for the production he put on the field. Despite this, he made big plays at big moments to help bring a Super Bowl to Kansas City. He’ll always be a part of our past, but he shouldn’t be a part of the future.