What a phenomenal deal for Sammy Watkins personally. If you had to put your young-but-fledgling career in the hands of any offensive mind in the NFL right now, wouldn’t it be Andy Reid? The 24-year-old Watkins gets $48 million for three years with $30 million guaranteed, according to the NFL Network, which means two things:
1. Prime wide receiver money at just a million under the Antonio Brown threshold
2. A chance to hit the market again well before Watkins turns 30.
When grading something like this, you have to take into consideration both the benefit from Watkins’s side and the risk taken by Kansas City. Watkins has flashed moments of absolute brilliance throughout his career in Buffalo and Los Angeles, but he’s had to balance his desire to be an Odell Beckham-esque, 10-target-per-game player with lingering health issues and serious changes in offensive scheme. Reid has been consistently able to get his top targets the ball over the years, but is $30 million in guaranteed money too much for someone who has posted just one 1,000-yard season over four years of at least eight games per season?
The wide receiver market and NFL free agency as a whole are strange. A little more than a year ago today, Alshon Jeffery took a high-end one-year deal with the Eagles for less money per year. While that ended up resulting in a heftier extension, Jeffery was arguably a more proven commodity, with two monstrous seasons under his belt already.
From a fan perspective, though, it’s a move that allows people to dream. The prospect of Watkins, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt in the same offense is dizzying for opposing defensive coordinators on paper. The question is whether Patrick Mahomes can make all the parts work, and this may end up being Reid’s greatest challenge as a head coach. With expectations at uncanny levels, can he deliver a team that was more consistently dominant than any of the Alex Smith-led units now that he has an arsenal of brand-name talent?