According to Ian Rapoport, the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears are among several teams interested in the services of free agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
To be certain, Sammy Watkins has had an uneven start to his career. He came out of the gate rolling in his first two seasons in Buffalo only to have injuries derail his third season before he was sent packing to the Los Angeles Rams last year. He had a very inconsistent 2017, notching fewer than 600 receiving yards but with eight touchdowns. There were some really big plays, but he was never really a consistent game-to-game performer for an offense in which Robert Woods thrived.
Why Watkins is an ideal fit for the Bears
The Bears are in dire need of a stretch-the-field playmaker like Watkins to pair with its franchise quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears simply do not have that type of player on offense right now. With $50 million in cap room even after placing the transition tag on Kyle Fuller, adding Watkins would not break the bank. While Trubisky’s rookie season left much to be desired, it was also not a fair assessment of his potential given the lack of offensive weapons for the passing game.
The Bears had a good defense last year, but the offense was the Achilles’ heel of the team. It lacked a reliable receiver or tight end and relied too much on the video game skills of Tarik Cohen. Chicago’s free agency and draft should focus on offense, offense, and more offense. This seems likely with Matt Nagy taking over as head coach.
Adding Watkins, a reliable tight end, and some other lesser talents around Trubisky and Jordan Howard could put the Bears on the cusp of being at least a .500 team and perhaps (gulp) challenging for their first playoff appearance since 2010.
Why the Chiefs are not a crazy option
Chris Conley is a nice player, but he is never going to be a stud receiver. He’s a good blocker and has mostly served as a possession receiver. He’s also coming off of a bad injury (Achilles) which usually takes a full season to recover whatever speed and agility has been lost.
It is likely a long shot, but assuming you can get Watkins for a fairly decent price (back-loaded contract with incentives), he makes for an intriguing weapon for an offense that is already dynamic. With Watkins and Tyreek Hill spreading the field, everything is opened up for Travis Kelce and the running game. It would likely give Hill more one-on-one matchups which seemed to work out pretty well against the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers this past season.
The risk for anyone signing Watkins is that he will regress back to his injury-plagued 2016 campaign in which he only played eight games and logged a stat line of 28 catches with 430 yards and two touchdowns. But for the right price and assuming he can stay healthy, Watkins could be a steal in this free agent market.