For most of his career, Sammy Watkins has had to deal with the fact that even when he was good, he was not perceived to be as good as Odell Beckham, Jr or Mike Evans, the two receivers drafted within ten picks of him being selected fourth overall by the Buffalo Bills. And in spite of his posting 982 yards with the Bills as a rookie and 1,047 in year two, while playing in low-volume passing offenses led by Kyle Orton, Tyrod Taylor, and EJ Manuel, Watkins also fell behind the 20th overall pick that year: Brandin Cooks.
After three seasons in Buffalo, Watkins was traded to the LA Rams, along with a sixth round pick, for E.J. Gaines and a second rounder. First-year head coach Sean McVay had an offensive plan in place the required Jared Goff to not only have Todd Gurley behind him, but three receivers worthy of the title of “number one receiver” if they were in the right situation.
Those players were Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Watkins, and they were all added in the same offseason. The plan worked pretty well, as you know, but Watkins swapped out his two draft class mates as trees creating a shadow over him for two teammates now casting that shadow. Watkins caught eight touchdowns but as health and consistency issues crept up again, he hit the market — no fifth-year option was picked by Buffalo to the former fourth overall pick — and many were surprised to see the Kansas City Chiefs give him a three-year, $48 million contract.
In the previous two seasons, Watkins had caught 67 of 122 targets for 1,023 yards and 10 touchdowns, while also missing nine games. The Chiefs then paid him $16 million per season, including a whopping $19.2 million cap hit in 2019. The type of cap hit that a team could maybe only survive if they had an MVP quarterback making less than $5 million. (Ding ding: We have a winning formula.)
Watkins was not a disaster in 2018, but he missed six games and while his on-field value was evident, he was still not the player that OBJ and Evans were; and now Cooks, who replaced him on the Rams, posted 80 catches for 1,204 yards in that same role. Watkins finished 2018 with 40 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns, though he had 10 catches for 176 yards in two playoff games. He returned in 2019 to catch 52 passes for 673 yards on 90 targets, an underwhelming 7.5 yards per target, and his $21 million cap hit in 2020 looked like all but a sure sign that this would be his last season in Kansas City.
However, the postseason and Sunday’s Super Bowl may complicate matters.
Watkins had two catches for 76 yards in the divisional round, then seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the AFC Championship win over the Tennessee Titans. Facing off against Richard Sherman in the biggest game of his life, Watkins caught five of six targets for 98 yards, including arguably the play of the game — and it came with him making his former NFC West rival look like an amateur by comparison. Now that we’re talking about it, Watkins also faced off against Stephon Gilmore in last year’s AFC Championship and had four catches for 114 yards.
That $21 million cap hit may have gone from a sure sign of a release to a sure sign of an extension in order to get the damage down. Watkins is still just 26 years old and one of the greatest in the league, if we’re only talking about what he can do in a single moment. Week to week and play to play, Watkins has not been a player that teams have felt too concerned with losing despite his talent. And now in part because of his talent, the Chiefs are Super Bowl champions.
Onto the links.
Y’all know the rule. “If thou speaketh garbage upon a man, thou shall get garbage in return.” It’s in the book. Page 73, section 113. Check it out.
Sherman knows that. And that’s where he’s at right now. After winning the NFC Championship he promptly engaged in a back and forth with Darrelle Revis on Twitter that basically ended with him telling him to watch the Super Bowl from the couch.
Davante Adams gave Sammy Watkins the blueprint to beating Richard Sherman - AcmePackingCompany
In the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship, Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was matched up in single-coverage against Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman. Adams used a magnificent inside move off the line of scrimmage, beating Sherman quickly and then using his speed to outrace him to a deep over-the-shoulder catch. That 65-yard play set up a Packers touchdown, which pulled them within 14 points.
But on Sunday night, in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, Chiefs wideout Sammy Watkins used an eerily similar move to beat Sherman deep once again. Only this time, Watkins’ play came with the Chiefs down just three points and set up a go-ahead touchdown three plays later, giving Kansas City a 24-20 lead that they would not relinquish.
The next spark came from Chiefs receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught a 38-yard pass from Mahomes to set Kansas City up with a first-and-goal from the 49ers 10-yard line with 3:44 remaining. Three plays later, the Chiefs took the 24-20 lead on a Mahomes scoring pass to running back Damien Williams. “That’s just Sammy being ‘Starship 14,’ making a play for the offense when we needed it,’’ Hill said. Watkins got behind 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman on the 38-yard play.
Sammy Watkins looking back at Richard Sherman pic.twitter.com/mdbpVuNjUy— TigersJUK (@TigersJUK) February 3, 2020
NFL Rumors report the LA Rams are in play for Tom Brady - Ramblin’ Fan
So the flames of NFL Rumors about Tom Brady’s future will be fanned over and over again. Most recently, reports determined Brady’s family as buying real estate in Las Vegas, then Tennessee, then Florida. Not to be outdone, the latest NFL Rumor connects Brady to 11 NFL teams. The reason this matters to Rams fans? One of those teams is the LA Rams.
Jalen Ramsey’s relationship with the Jacksonville Jaguars soured rapidly over the last year, much of it having to do with Tom Coughlin and his criticism of the cornerback skipping voluntary workouts. It culminated in Jacksonville trading Ramsey to the Rams last October, netting two first-round picks in return.
LA Rams must avoid building team of extremes in 2020 - Ramblin’ Fan
The LA Rams never seem to hesitate to talk terms of a possible NFL trade or signing a new player in NFL Free Agency. The team is always building, adding, trading, discarding, acquiring new players in the search for a championship caliber team to win the Super Bowl. The tough part is, 31 other NFL teams are trying to do exactly that aw well.
(Written before it was announced that Stephon Gilmore had won the award)
Even he admits he doesn’t think he’ll win the award and hear his name called on Saturday night at the NFL Honors show. “No, not this year,” Donald said in a phone interview with Rams Wire on Friday, courtesy of Pizza Hut.
So who will win it? He thinks it’ll come down to T.J. Watt of the Steelers and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore. “I feel like it’s going to be between T.J. Watt and Gilmore,” Donald said. “Probably Gilmore because those guys made it to the playoffs. He had a real good season, so it’ll be out of those two guys.”
Pro Football Focus actually put Goff in the bottom half of the league in terms of starting quarterbacks, ranking him 19th in the NFL following the 2019 season. That’s directly behind Baker Mayfield, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz.
When a Rams executive was asked recently how he’s rooting in the Super Bowl, his answer included a surprise for anyone raised on L.A. vs. Bay Area sports rivalries.
Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff praised both the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, said he didn’t have a favorite, but then told a group of writers: “You always want your NFC West brethren to do well.”