|ADP:||Round: 9, Pick: 11|
|Team:||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Ht / Wt:||6'1" / 211 lb.|
|Born:||June 14, 1993|
|Drafted:||2014 / Rd. 1 (4)|
Watkins and Kansas City agreed to a one-year, $9 million contract with up to an additional $7 million in incentives, Yahoo! Sports' Terez A. Paylor reports.
Analysis: Watkins would have counted $21 million against Kansas City's cap space under the original deal, which was in the last of its three years. There's probably something to infer from the fact that the Chiefs didn't extend Watkins -- he simply took a paycut on his one remaining year -- but with this restructured deal he's all but guaranteed to start in Kansas City another year. If he retains the same role as he did in 2019, Watkins would likely serve as the Chiefs' primary slot and underneath wideout target. It's a development that will likely delay the proper breakout of second-year wideout Mecole Hardman.
Watkins, who is slated to count $21 million against the Chiefs' salary cap this coming season, is a candidate to have his deal restructured, Herbie Teope of the Kansas City Star reports.
Analysis: To that end, GM Brett Veach indicated Tuesday that the team plans to meet with the wideout's agent this week to discuss his existing contract. Per Veach, Watkins is a player the Chiefs wish to retain, but given the terms of the third and final year of his deal with the team, some sort of restructuring is clearly in order to make that a reality. Watkins' regular season line (52/673/3 through 14 games) wasn't special, but the 26-year-old was a key cog in both the AFC Championship game and Super Bowl LIV, en route to combining for 12 catches for 212 yards and a TD over those two Kansas City wins.
Watkins confirmed that he plans to play football in 2020, but he acknowledged that his future with the Chiefs is uncertain, SiriusXM NFL Radio reports. "I need some down time," Watkins said. "I'm gonna talk to coach Reid about it. I don't control the contracts, or the trade, or if they're gonna give me a better contract."
Analysis: Watkins said he's focused on his physical health, mental health and family, perhaps hinting that he could miss a portion of the offseason program to focus on more important aspects of life. It isn't entirely clear that it would be the Chiefs' offseason program rather than another team's, as Watkins is scheduled for a non-guaranteed $14 million base salary in the final season of a three-year contract. It's a hefty price for someone who averaged 4.2 targets over the final six games of the 2019 regular season, but a fair price for a guy with 464 receiving yards in his five playoff games for the Chiefs. A contract extension that lowers his 2020 cap hit might work for both parties, with Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reporting that the Chiefs are hopeful they can find a way to retain Watkins.
The Chiefs hope to retain Watkins for 2020, though his $14 million salary could make it difficult, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: The Chiefs will take a $7 million cap hit if Watkins is traded or released, compared to $21 million if he's retained under the current terms of his contract. The two sides could discuss a pay cut or an extension to lower his 2020 cap charge, with the latter presumably a more attractive option for the 26-year-old wide receiver. Watkins recently said he enjoys playing for the Chiefs, even though he has modest averages of 6.0 targets and 49.7 receiving yards in 24 regular-season games with the team. He's been much more productive in five playoff appearances, averaging 4.8 catches for 92.8 yards on 6.8 targets, including a 5-98-0 receiving line in last week's Super Bowl. Prior to the game, Watkins said he would consider different options for the 2020 campaign, even mentioning that he could sit out for a season (though it wasn't clear if he was being serious). Fellow wide receiver Demarcus Robinson can become an unrestricted free agent in March, while 21-year-old Mecole Hardman should be ready for a larger role in his second pro season.
Watkins secured five of six targets for 98 yards during the Chiefs' 31-20 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
Analysis: Watkins was behind only to teammate Tyreek Hill in receptions and receiving yardage for the night, with the veteran wideout making several key catches throughout the contest. None was bigger than a 38-yard grab on 2nd-and-7 from the 49ers' 48 yard-line on the Chiefs' go-ahead scoring drive in the fourth quarter, a play that was followed by Damien Williams' five-yard touchdown grab one minute later. Watkins finished the regular season with a 52-673-3 line through 14 games, with his reception tally his highest since 2015. The 26-year-old is signed through next season, but he'd carry a cap hit of $21 million that is likely to force a restructure or even potential parting of the ways.
Watkins suggested Thursday that he's considering different options with regard to the 2020 NFL season, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: The wideout is under contract with the Chiefs through next season and his options include playing through the deal, renegotiating it, or in Watkins' words, "if we win (Sunday's Super Bowl), I might chill out. I might sit out a year. You just never know." With that in mind, the 2014 first-rounder remains poised to play in big role in his team's offense this weekend, on the heels of catching seven of his 10 targets for 114 yards and a TD in Kansas City's win over the Titans in the AFC Championship Game, back on Jan. 19.
Watkins caught seven of 10 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 35-24 win over the Titans in the AFC Championship Game.
Analysis: Watkins led the team in targets, catches and receiving yards as he finished averaging a healthy 16.3 yards per catch. The majority of his production came on a beautiful 60-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Watkins has been excellent in two postseason games, totaling 204 scrimmage yards on 10 touches to help his team reach the Super Bowl. He's not guaranteed to show up with big production against the 49ers or the Packers, but he could certainly make an impact if the opponent focuses on taking away the team's other weapons.
Watkins caught both of his targets for 76 receiving yards and ran for 14 yards on his only rush attempt during Sunday's 51-31 divisional round win against the Texans.
Analysis: The 2014 No. 4 overall draft choice made some notable contributions during his fourth career postseason appearance Sunday, corralling Patrick Mahomes passes of 48 and 28 yards as Kansas City punished Houston's defense for jumping offside in each instance. When also taking into account his 14-yard rush, the explosive Watkins accounted for 30 scrimmage yards per touch against the Texans after picking up just 10.3 yards per play Weeks 5 through 17. Though liable to break off an enormous gain any time he touches the ball, Watkins has commanded just 3.3 targets per game since Week 15 and he has yet to reach the end zone since scoring three times in the season opener against Jacksonville.
Watkins caught an eight yard pass off of two targets during Sunday's 31-21 win over the Chargers.
Analysis: Watkins' two targets marked a season low in a peculiar game in which the Chiefs didn't really get going in the passing game, but benefitted from a long kick return and run on offense. Despite a monster Week 1 and enjoying more targets than he'd had since 2015, Watkins set a career low at 12.9 yards per catch and managed three or fewer touchdowns for the third time in his last four seasons. All three of his touchdowns came in Week 1. After the bye comes a matchup against the Patriots, Texans or Bills. Watkins caught four of eight passes for 50 yards in Week 14's showdown with New England.
Watkins caught two passes (five targets) for 28 yards in Sunday's 26-3 win over the Bears.
Analysis: The Chiefs were leaning heavy on a West Coast passing scheme, only attempting one pass of more than 20 yards. This led to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill -- who are superior route runners -- getting a lot more of Patrick Mahomes attention as opposed to a pure deep threat like Watkins. The 26-year-old hasn't posted very many big receiving lines since his monstrous 198-yard, three-touchdown performance back in Week 1, so he should be limited to deep-league value heading into a tough matchup against the Chargers on Sunday.
Watkins snared just three of his four targets for 49 yards Sunday against the Broncos.
Analysis: Watkins continues to turn in lackluster fantasy outings, notching a combined seven receptions for 99 yards over the last three weeks. He also hasn't scored a touchdown since his three-score explosion in Week 1 and there's nothing to suggest he's due for a breakout game. With a stingy Chicago defense on deck, owners may consider benching him for better options.
Watkins hauled in four of his eight targets for 50 yards Sunday against the Patriots.
Analysis: After a silent Week 13 versus the Raiders, Watkins took the field for 91 percent of the offensive snaps Sunday. The workload marked his largest since Week 4 versus the Lions, though he's finished with 100 or more receiving yards in only the opener against Jacksonville. Next up is a Broncos defense surrendering only 215.9 passing yards per game.
Watkins failed to reel in any of his three targets during Sunday's game against the Raiders.
Analysis: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed just 15 passes on the day overall, with 10 of those going to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, so Watkins' minor production isn't a huge shock. What's more concerning is the fact that Watkins has seen a combined six targets between the last two contests. Things don't get any easier next week with New England on the schedule.
Coach Andy Reid said that Watkins (illness) will play Sunday against the Raiders, Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star reports.
Analysis: Watkins popped up on the Chiefs' injury report after an illness prevented him from practicing Thursday, but he was back on the field Friday for the team's final session of Week 13. The wideout's activity was apparently enough for Reid to give him the green light to play this weekend, and it's not expected that Watkins will face any limitations with his snaps as a result of the ailment. Since returning from a two-game absence in Week 8, Watkins has played in the Chiefs' last four contests but hasn't reached the end zone while averaging 4.8 catches and 43.3 receiving yards.
Watkins didn't practice Thursday due to an illness, Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star reports.
Analysis: On a positive note, Watkins' absence isn't related to an injury, but the intensity of his illness is unknown. As a result, his status should be watched closely Friday and perhaps into the weekend to ensure he's available Sunday against the Raiders.
Watkins recorded just two catches for 26 yards on three targets Monday against the Chargers.
Analysis: Watkins' effort Monday was his worst of the 2019 campaign, even without Tyreek Hill available for most of the contest. The field in Mexico City and a tough Chargers defense likely both played roles in his slow night. Fortunately, Watkins and the passing game should have a great opportunity to get back on track next week versus a Raiders squad allowing 262.2 passing yards per game and 8.2 pass yards per attempt.
Watkins (hamstring) is ruled out for Thursday's game against the Broncos.
Analysis: Watkins will miss a second consecutive game due to his hamstring injury, though it'll effectively function as three straight absences considering that he played only two snaps on offense Week 5 before being pulled. In Watkins' stead, expect Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle to see increased opportunities behind Tyreek Hill.
Watkins (hamstring) was a limited practice participant Tuesday, Troy Renck of Denver 7 News reports.
Analysis: Watkins tweaked his hamstring in the final practice of Week 5 and proceeded to log just two offensive snaps in the Chiefs' loss to the Colts before sitting out entirely this past Sunday against the Texans. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Watkins has a chance to suit up Thursday versus the Broncos, but he'd clear up any questions by fitting in a full practice Wednesday after being listed as limited on the first two Week 7 injury reports.
Watkins (hamstring) was listed as a limited participant in Monday's practice estimate.
Analysis: According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Chiefs believe Watkins has a shot to return for Thursday's game against the Broncos. A limited practice would support that notion, but the Chiefs didn't actually have a practice and this was just an estimate. Watkins still has two more days to get onto the practice field in some capacity, although he's trending toward at least a questionable tag heading into Thursday.
The Chiefs believe Watkins (hamstring) could return for Thursday's game against Denver, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: Watkins didn't practice at all last week and was listed as doubtful for Sunday's eventual 31-24 loss to Houston. A return just four days later sounds optimistic, but the Chiefs reportedly believe there's a real chance. With Watkins out of the lineup Sunday, the Chiefs had four wide receivers -- Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman -- play at least 50 percent of snap on offense.
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