NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported K.C. is planning to sign wide receiver Sammy Watkins to a three-year contract, according to sources informed of the deal. The deal is expected to be worth $48 million with $30 million guaranteed at the signing, per Rapoport.
The deal cannot be finalized until the new league year opens Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Watkins joining the Chiefs takes the top two receivers off the free-agent market after Allen Robinson agreed in principle to sign with the Chicago Bears early Tuesday morning. Watkins was ranked No. 5 in NFL.com’s Top 101 Free Agents of 2018.
Adding Watkins gives Andy Reid a bevy of field-stretching targets with Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. With Mahomes’ big arm, he’s set up to succeed in his first year as starter, if all his weapons are on the field.
Watkins entered free agency the biggest wide receiver swimming in the pond despite coming off one disappointing season in Los Angeles, following an injury-plagued start to his career in Buffalo. In Sean McVay’s high-flying offense, Watkins played third-fiddle, earning 593 yards on 39 receptions with eight touchdowns.
The Rams desire to keep Watkins around likely pushed his market. Watkins’ $30 million guaranteed sits at fifth-most among receivers, and the $16 million average is fourth-most at the position. The huge money is a lot for a 600-yard receiver with an injury history, but the Chiefs hedged by keeping the deal short.
Watkins is still just 24 years old — even if it feels like he’s been in the NFL for fifteen years — and possesses an enticing skill set. When healthy, Watkins owns speed to burn on the outside, a big body over the middle and proved last season in L.A. he can be a red zone threat.
Pairing a player of Watkins talent with Hill and Kelce makes a ton of sense on paper. Watkins provides a red zone foil to Kelce and a deep-threat tandem for Hill. Toss in dynamic running back Kareem Hunt, and the Chiefs have plenty of weapons for Reid to tinker with in 2018.
When K.C. handed the starting gig to Mahomes this offseason, team brass knew it needed to buffer the big-armed quarterback right out of the gate. Adding Watkins — even at a huge cost — gives the Chiefs a player with the talent to be a true No. 1 wideout. Mahomes tossing bombs to Watkins and Hill play after play could provide the most fun offense next season.