As the Kansas City Chiefs retool for another run at the Super Bowl, they are likely planning on jettisoning some of their key players. The player talked about most as one who could be on the move is Chris Jones. However, wide receiver Sammy Watkins has had a lot of buzz around him since the Super Bowl.
Despite being a big contributor to the Chiefs’ 2019 success, Watkins is expected to be a salary cap casualty. While the team has been looking for trade partners for Watkins, the problem is the same one faced by teams like the Cincinnati Bengals with Andy Dalton and the Carolina Panthers with Cam Newton.
Every other team knows they are trying to get rid of the player. There are a few teams willing to give up draft picks, or talented players back when they can just sign Watkins to a free-agent contract.
That’s why a new list of players most likely to be traded before this year’s NFL draft put out by Bleacher Report has Watkins on it. As Marcus Mosher writes, Watkins was a big signing back in 2018, but after two subpar years, it might be time for the Chiefs to cut bait.
“The Chiefs already have Mecole Hardman on the roster to take his spot, so they could release Watkins this offseason and save $14 million. There would be a $7 million dead-cap hit, but considering the Chiefs hardly have any cap space available, that move can’t be ruled out.”
If there is a reason why the Chiefs might want to keep Watkins, it would be the way he played in the playoffs this past season. He shone when the team needed him most. Against Houston, he only had two catches, but he took those for an average of 38 yards. Against Tennessee in the AFC Championship game, Watkins caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown. Then, in the Super Bowl, the receiver hauled down five catches for 98 yards.
He certainly endeared himself to Chiefs fans thanks in no small part to those postseason performances. If Kansas City wants to find a way to keep him, there is another player on the list from KC who could be cut instead.
Mosher believes that if Watkins stays, linebacker Anthony Hitchens is almost certainly gone. With the lack of flexibility Kansas City has this year, it’s almost a guarantee they are going to need to shed a veteran player who contributed quite a bit to the 2019 dream season. Whether it’s Sammy Watkins, Anthony Hitchens or Chris Jones is still up in the air.