Analysis

The Chiefs already have Sammy Watkins’ replacement

A third receiving option will be needed as Watkins takes his talents to the Baltimore Ravens

The Kansas City Chiefs are losing wide receiver Sammy Watkins to AFC contenders. Watkins officially signed his one-year, $5 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

Watkins was looked at as that third receiving option for the Chiefs. In his three seasons in Kansas City, his health derailed him. He dealt with hamstring problems in 2019 and 2020, along with a pedal foot in 2018, according to Sports Injury Predictor. With regularly being sidelined, the Chiefs could get just as much, if not more, from wide receivers that have already been on the roster previously.

Playing alongside First-team All-Pros Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce helps take pressure off everybody. One receiver that shined last season was second-year Mecole Hardman. Hardman was the third-wheel in the passing game last year. Hardman was third on the team with 62 targets and 560 receiving yards, according to Pro Football Reference. In 2019, Hardman was selected to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist. His big play-making ability has helped the Chiefs turned the tide in games, and it has helped the Chiefs have a couple successful seasons. The big plays are very useful, especially to provide a spark, but Hardman must fix something.

One problem Hardman has is taking care of the football. Hardman fumbled twice in both seasons. With his explosiveness and playmaking ability, Hardman has already expressed an interest to have a larger role in the offense. With starting just half the regular season games in 2020, that production in just his second year may see Hardman take an additional leap in the third. Hardman has two more seasons under contract with the Chiefs.However if Hardman wasn’t healthy or producing, the Chiefs kept another key receiver from last season.

Demarcus Robinson signed a one year, $1.1 million deal to stay with the team. Robinson’s stats and playing time match up almost evenly with Hardman. The 26-year-old had 466 receiving yards with three touchdowns last season. That’s the most yards Robinson has had since being drafted by the Chiefs in 2016. Hardman and Robinson both benefit from being involved and comfortable with the Chiefs’ offense. Both players only know Chiefs football, neither have played anywhere else in their professional careers.

It will be interesting to see if the Chiefs put faith in these two receivers or draft a younger guy. But for the time being, it’s safe to say the Chiefs receiving core will be more than okay headed into the 2021 season.

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