The Chiefs made a big financial gamble on Sammy Watkins in free agency. The early returns aren’t too promising for Andy Reid and the Kansas City offense.
It’s not time to start panicking about Sammy Watkins’ ability to provide a boost to the Chiefs offense this season, but the early returns are pretty discouraging. Watkins is still waiting to catch his first pass of the preseason.
Obviously, that’s not what Andy Reid and company had in mind when they handed him a massive three-year, $48 million deal in free agency. They acquired him to be the final weapon to help ease Patrick Mahomes’ transition to the starting role. The Chiefs didn’t enter the offseason bereft of weapons given the presence of stars like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt.
For whatever it’s worth, the Chiefs coaching staff doesn’t seem to be too concerned. Reid is quick to tell reporters how much he loves Watkins “intensity on learning all the little, small things.” He’s certainly thrown a lot at his new acquisition. The team expects Watkins to earn the intricacies of all three of their receiver positions before the regular season begins.
Reid also claims that he’s seen a lot of good connections between Mahomes and Watkins on the practice field. It’s fair to point out that playing together for parts of two preseason games doesn’t represent a massive sample size for Watkins’ ability to contribute to the offense. Even so, the idea that he hasn’t been able to make a single catch can’t be construed as a positive.
His performance last week against the Steelers only added fuel to the fire for Watkins’ critics. He dropped one well thrown ball from Mahomes and his failure to work back for the football on another throw cost his quarterback an interception. Neither of those things is going to engender a lot of trust from Mahomes moving forward.
Despite the lack of early returns, it would be foolish to bet against Reid on this one. He gets a lot of credit for developing young quarterbacks, but he also has a solid track record of getting the most out of his wide receivers. If you’re a big believer in Watkins’ talent, it’s a pretty safe bet that Reid will find a way to turn it into production on the field.
Chiefs fans should keep a close eye on Watkins over the next few weeks. He needs to start making plays to justify his price tag. His ability to play well might be the difference between the playoffs and a long offseason in Kansas City.