Sammy Watkins has reached an agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs on a restructured contract that will keep him with the reigning Super Bowl champions for the 2020 season, according to Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo! Sports. Because of his large cap hit ($21 million) heading into next season and the fact that the Chiefs could clear $14 million of that by releasing him, there was a school of thought that Watkins could become a cap causality. After all, they had just $177 in available salary cap space prior to this restructure, so this seemed like a logical way to give themselves some wiggle room. Under this new contract, Paylor reports, Watkins can reach up to $16 million, but the Chiefs will create $5 million in cap space.Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports a larger breakdown of how Watkins’ deal shakes out. Specifically, Watkins has a $7 million base salary, a $1 million signing bonus, $1 million in pre-game roster bonuses, up to $1 million in playtime/touchdown incentives (either 75% of the offensive snaps or seven touchdowns), and up to $6 million in performance and postseason incentives. As it relates to those performance and playoff incentives, Watkins will earn up to $2.25 million if he catches at least 65 passes, eight touchdowns and 800 yards receiving. All of those statistical incentives only activate if Kansas City reaches the playoffs. If they win the AFC Championship and Watkins plays in at least 50% of the offensive snaps in that game, he will make $1.25 million. If Watkins reaches that reception or receiving yards incentive for the regular season along with the AFC Championship, he’ll see an additional $1.25 million for each incentive. This deal also comes with a no-trade clause.
Watkins even took to Twitter following word getting out of his restructured deal and tweeted his excitement of remaining in Kansas City. Watkins’ contract was a topic of discussion even leading up the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV win, where the veteran receiver would have a strong game against 49ers corner Richard Sherman, catching five passes for 98 yards. At the time, Watkins appeared open to a pay cut to remain with the Chiefs and help the franchise set up its books to extend quarterback Patrick Mahomes. As recently as Thursday, head coach Andy Reid wouldn’t commit to having Watkins when they begin the 2020 season, but that could in hindsight be looked at has Reid possibly playing his cards close to the vest with knowledge of this restructuring on the horizon. Watkins first entered the league back in 2014 after the Buffalo Bills selected him with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft out of Clemson. He spent three years with the Bills and made a quick stop with the Los Angeles Rams for the 2017 season before inking a deal to join the Chiefs. In Kansas City, Watkins has been a strong secondary option for Patrick Mahomes behind fellow receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. In 14 regular season games last year, Watkins caught 52 passes for 673 yards and three touchdowns. During that postseason run to a Super Bowl LIV title, he hauled in 14 of his 18 targets for 288 yards and a touchdown. Now, Watkins rejoins a potent Chiefs offense and will have a chance to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent next offseason when he’ll be just 27 years old.