Packers signing Sammy Watkins to one year deal

The free agent wide receiver was the fourth overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft

Per ESPN:

Watkins was the fourth overall pick for Buffalo in the 2014 NFL draft and has spent time with the Rams, Chiefs and Ravens. (He played for Matt LaFleur while with the Rams where LaFleur was offensive coordinator)

With Schefter noting the deal is worth (up to $4 million) I'd suspect much of that is incentive based. 

Injuries have been an issue for Watkins but when he's on the field he still has the potential to do damage in LaFleur's system with Aaron Rodgers pulling the trigger.

Watkins caught 27 passes on 49 targets for 394 yards and a touchdown over 13 games with the Ravens last year.

For his career, Watkins has averaged 8.5 yards per target. His career-best season came in his second season in the league, when he caught 60 passes for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns in Buffalo. 

Since 2014, Watkins ranks No. 7 in yards per reception among NFL players with 300 or more catches. He is one of five wide receivers in the league with 300-plus receptions, 5,000-plus receiving yards, 30-plus receiving TDs and an average of 14.5-plus yards per catch since 2014.

While with Kansas City (2018-20), he was part of a team that won three consecutive AFC West titles, went to three straight AFC Championship games and made back-to-back Super Bowl appearances (2019-20), winning the title in 2019. Watkins’ 125 catches and 2,029 yards from 2014-15 were the most ever by a Bills player in their first two NFL seasons.

Watkins will wear No. 11 for the Packers.

7 points

Comments (33)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PatrickGB's picture

April 14, 2022 at 01:35 pm

I guess, why not? A little veteran experience will help. We checked that box of an affordable receiver. Let’s hope he can stay healthy.

13 points
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dobber's picture

April 14, 2022 at 01:40 pm

Has been able to get downfield over the course of his career--when healthy--and languished on a run-centric Baltimore offense last year but still managed 14.6 ypc. Has only played a full slate of games one year in his career, though. He's par for the course for those WR still available on the market...plenty of questions, and more hope than track record.

Fits BG's usual M.O. of finding reclamation projects in FA to take some positional urgency off the first round of the upcoming draft.

His RAS (for those who like those things) is here:
https://ras.football/2020/01/20/sammy-watkins-ras/

8 points
8
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greengold's picture

April 14, 2022 at 02:57 pm

dobs, you totally called this kind of signing ahead of the draft. I like Watkins coming here, though he brings probably 600yds on the high end. Who knows? Could be good. We’ll see.

Opens up the draft, slightly, if at all. I wouldn’t count too much on this being a big fix, despite his size. I’d still load up the best quality targets I could add. Either way, a smart, low cost signing to provide veteran depth in a youth movement.

5 points
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PatrickGB's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:20 pm

Thanks Dobber. It’s been a few years (and pulled hammys) ago since he posted those times. Yet he is still a starting WR in this league. Let’s all wish him the best of health. Except for Baltimore he has done ok at every one of his previous stops and fans there had nice things to say about him minus his injuries and price tag at the time.

2 points
2
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 15, 2022 at 09:15 am

He had an enormous Adot in Balt. at 13.1 yards. Previously, he had more normal Adot numbers ranging from 8.1 to 9.5 yards. I've made no secret of my opinion of Lamar Jackson: the guy can't throw the football.

0 points
0
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HarryHodag's picture

April 14, 2022 at 01:44 pm

The Packers still need two receivers(and /or a return specialist) in the draft. They especially need a burner.

Watkins adds some veteran depth.

5 points
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3
Irish_Cheesehead's picture

April 14, 2022 at 01:48 pm

There’s our veteran. I like the signing! One year at 4 mil. He had the lowest targets in his career last year with the Ravens. He’s in a good place to prove he’s still a quality receiver in GB with Rodgers. Now let’s go draft a couple studs!

10 points
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JokeKun12's picture

April 14, 2022 at 02:33 pm

Wow, nice. Why not? Veterans always share their experience to other players. Its good!

6 points
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PackfanNY's picture

April 14, 2022 at 02:37 pm

No big deal. I like this signing because it is short and affordable and keeps all the options open. Not a long term commitment. They can still do anything they want either via trade or draft. I still expect at least two WRs somewhere in the upcoming draft.

4 points
4
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JohnnyLogan's picture

April 14, 2022 at 02:41 pm

I like it. Now sign Fuller, two draft picks at WR, draft Trey McBride at TE, and it all might work.

-4 points
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8
Leatherhead's picture

April 14, 2022 at 02:46 pm

I wanted him as a rookie. Then when he became a FA, I thought we shuld go for him. But now? How many old vets do we need at that position besides Cobb?

It does take a little of the pressure off the draft to score 3 or 4 WRs. If your WR unit includes Watkins, Lazard, Cobb, and Amari, you really only need one more to dress out.

5 points
7
2
Grimm's picture

April 14, 2022 at 05:11 pm

" How many old vets do we need at that position besides Cobb?"

I believe he is only 28, as my quick web search found. He will be 29 in June. Should have some gas in the tank yet.

4 points
4
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Coldworld's picture

April 14, 2022 at 11:56 pm

He’s got gas, but the chassis has been pretty troublesome. It’s hard to bet in him being healthy if he’s a regular down player. He has under 500 yards in each of the last two years and only one season over 700 since 2015. He’s a good piece, but I think it buys time and reduces the number of big rookie hits we need to make in the draft. A good move but the hill remains to be climbed.

2 points
2
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BirdDogUni's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:07 pm

Sammy Watkins is a smart add in my opinion. Rodgers might be able to make him shine again?

My hope is the draft falls is such a way we end up with:

Christian Watson, Jelani Woods, and Velus Jones/or

Alec Pierce, Jelani Woods, and Danny Gray/or

George Pickens, Trey McBride, and Taquan Thornton...

Or any combination of those guys.

(There are many more WRs/TEs I would be very happy with, but no way to list them all.) ; P

6 points
6
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Leatherhead's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:39 pm

I like the players, and I like the Math.

We have a game day roster, an inactive roster, and a practice squad. On the gameday roster, we usually dress 5WRs. We already have Lazard and Cobb and Amari. So we could add one, Watkiins, and it makes 4 of the 5 guys we need.

So we add two WRs, that'll bring us to 6, with one being inactive. That's a pretty good group to start with. Of course we'll look at guys for the practice squad, but that'll be the group we would like to have on Opening Day.

I especially like that all the guys you mentioned are guys that could well be available after the end of the first round. We still have to address that we lost two starters from last year's offensive line, one starter won't be available until mid-season, and our starters at left tackle and center both missed just about the entire season last year. We need offensive linemen who would be ready to start, if needed, because they probably will.

0 points
0
0
BirdDogUni's picture

April 14, 2022 at 04:27 pm

I don't know what Gutey's plan is regarding the OL, but I'm sure he has one. A well spoken young man I wouldn't mind Gutey drafting is Zion Johnson. Great young man and very versatile. Reminds me of Elgton Jenkins.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

April 14, 2022 at 05:27 pm

They will bring in two for the O Line to compete and probably one will be a starter for the RT spot.

0 points
1
1
JohnnyLogan's picture

April 14, 2022 at 04:13 pm

I don’t like the interest in Watkins. He’s not good. Didn’t dominate at a small school, not even great numbers. Just fast. Hope Gute follows his usual routine and moves up, for Olave.

-1 points
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Renllaw's picture

April 15, 2022 at 07:51 am

I like it. Maybe even add another late round WR like Tanner Conner. If one develops faster than expected and shines in camp we could even entertain trading Watkins or Cobb to a team that had a camp injury at WR for a 7th rd pick and free up cap space to sign one of those surprise cuts that happen around the NFL near the end of camp. It's going to fun to watch the WR position group get put together and develop.

0 points
0
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SanLobo's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:14 pm

This works. Two real veterans in the WR room. Some young, eager to learn new draftees in there. Watkins doesn’t break the bank. And Rodgers has already said he likes this signing. This works.

5 points
5
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LambeauPlain's picture

April 14, 2022 at 05:00 pm

Lazard is a good vet leader in the room too. And all he does is improve every year.

5 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

April 15, 2022 at 12:36 am

If you told me Gutey was going to draft a 6' 5" 227lbs WR that ran 4.55, I'd be excited. Hope Lazard makes another jump this season. Seems like a great kid...

1 points
1
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Packers0808's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:21 pm

I was thinking Landis all the while, might be a matter of $'s. Watkins if stays healthy could really be a steal at the price he signed on for. Seems like a good solid addition.

7 points
7
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NoNonsense's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:21 pm

Good signing, hope it's a league minimum deal with easy to hit unlikely to be earned incentives. All he would need to reach is, at least 28 receptions or 395 yards or 2 TDs to make them unlikely to be earned which would apply to next year's cap.

Better than using void years, this way if he has a good to great season, he more than earns his money and if he ends up signing with another team next year he will count in the comp pick formula for FA losses, players with void years who leave don't count. That's my understanding anyway.

5 points
5
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Dragon5's picture

April 14, 2022 at 03:28 pm

Stopgap depth for a year...and a year is all it better be. As a ROOSTER, his enemy year begins January 22, 2023, the year of the CAT.

He has trended down the path of Josh Gordon, but alcohol the culprit. Relapse is a drink away.

https://www.sportingnews.com/us/nfl/news/sammy-watkins-drank-every-night...

-4 points
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beerandbrats's picture

April 14, 2022 at 04:17 pm

This is a great pickup if he can stay healthy this year! At a very affordable price!

4 points
4
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BruceC1960's picture

April 14, 2022 at 04:39 pm

Good timing before the draft. That will give he and AR time to get to know each other at the voluntary OTA’s..
Oh, wait a minute, never mind.

-1 points
2
3
LambeauPlain's picture

April 14, 2022 at 04:52 pm

I hope Sam is another rabbit our of Gutey's magician hat...aka Campbell and Douglas.

The long injury resume is troubling but like Cobb, he should be able to help the WRs intro to the NFL game.

4 points
4
0
lecko's picture

April 14, 2022 at 05:19 pm

Might be a good match, he will have a lot of oportunities to make many catches.
He also needs to earn trust from certian player.. I found this info about him, I guess based on that he already earend some trust from QB1 ? "In 2017, he told the Los Angeles Times that he supports the flat-Earth theory."

0 points
1
1
Packer_Fan's picture

April 14, 2022 at 05:27 pm

Ok, Watkins signing is a big piece of the puzzle. This gives the Packers four returning veterans. Look for the two higher draft picks with the receiver's. With one being a 1st round choice. Like the guy from North Dakota.

What I remember about Watkins is the year KC beat SF in the Super Bowl. In the 3rd quarter, SF was ahead 20 to 10. KC came back to win. One of the big plays was a long TD pass to Watkins over Richard Sherman. He used a move on Sherman that Adams used the week prior against Sherman.

I'm OK with this signing. It sets up the WR for training camp and doesn't mess up the draft choices.

And I'm ok with picking up a WR released during the season for the playoff run.

3 points
3
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Jeff Hayes's picture

April 14, 2022 at 06:15 pm

I like this signing actually, Sammy still has speed and has the ability to stretch the field like ML was wanting, still they need to draft at least 1 in the first round and 1 in the second then maybe they will have the weapons to contend for a SB again. With 12 here they always have a chance anyways.

Aaron what's your take on his speed & hands?

1 points
1
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Since'61's picture

April 14, 2022 at 06:39 pm

I think it's a good move he has experience and speed and should still have something left in the tank. It can't hurt having Rodgers throwing to him. If he stays healthy he can hold the WR group together while the young receivers evolve during the season. Good one year rental for the price. Thanks, Since '61

4 points
4
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davekenya's picture

April 14, 2022 at 10:20 pm

Good signing - low risk contract and takes a bit of the urgency off of things while keeping all options open.

Not unlike signing Funchness a couple years ago - see what he can do. If draft falls the right way (or a different great UFA signing comes later with trade/cuts), GB conceivably could even be able to move away from Watkins if he gets injured.

Might give GB ability to draft Jameson Williams and have him on PUP all year with Lazard/Cobb/Watkins/Rogers/non-Williams rookie taken in round #1 or #2 as the 5 dressed for games.

Feels a tad less critical to draft 2 WRs in the top 59.

All in all, like the wiggle room it gives.

2 points
2
0