Chiefs restructure Sammy Watkins’ deal, get relief after having only $177 in salary-cap space

Terez PaylorSenior NFL writer
Yahoo Sports

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are trying to get the band back together.

Just a few days after news broke of their salary-cap plight — the team had $177 in cap space, according to the NFL’s latest internal report — the club reached an agreement with receiver Sammy Watkins on a new one-year deal that will pay him a base of $9 million for 2020 with an incentive package that can reach $16 million, a source told Yahoo Sports. 

Watkins confirmed that a deal was struck via Twitter.

By restructuring Watkins, a Super Bowl LIV hero who was set to be a $21 million hit against the cap entering 2020, the final year of the original three-year pact he signed in 2018, the move creates $5 million in additional cap space for the Chiefs.

In return, the 26-year-old Watkins received a no-trade clause in the deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and gets to stay with the team that he helped win its first Super Bowl in 50 years in February.

Watkins came up huge in the playoffs for Kansas City, catching 14 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown.

Sammy Watkins runs with the ball after catching a pass against the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/san-francisco/" data-ylk="slk:San Francisco 49ers">San Francisco 49ers</a> in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The Chiefs won the game 31-20. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Sammy Watkins runs with the ball after catching a pass against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The Chiefs won the game 31-20. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

 “We sure like Sammy, he’s done a great job for us,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters during a conference call Thursday. “And as good a player as he is, he’s even a better person. We’ve really enjoyed him being here.”

Watkins is the latest re-signing for the club in an effort to defend the title with the same group that won it. The Chiefs re-signed defensive tackle Mike Pennel, receiver Demarcus Robinson, versatile fullback Anthony Sherman and backup quarterback Chad Henne.

Kansas City can carve out more cap space by signing star defensive lineman Chris Jones, who is currently on the books for $16.3 million in 2020 via the franchise tag, to a new deal.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is the only key Chief from 2019 who remains on the market as a free agent.


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