Sammy Watkins may be a free agent in 2018, should the Bears take a shot?
In case you haven’t noticed, the Chicago Bears’ group of wide receivers is a giant question mark. It’s a unit on the team that needs to be strengthened (unfortunately that’s true for several units). Even if Kevin White says on the field and becomes a productive player and Cameron Meredith develops into a reliable target, the team still doesn’t have enough depth and talent at the position.
That problem could potentially be solved by adding Buffalo Bills’ WR Sammy Watkins. The Bills gave up the moon to draft Sammy Watkins in 2014 but he’s never quite lived up to the potential that the Bills saw in him. Watkins had two productive seasons, but injuries cut short his 2017 campaign. Now Watkins enters the final year of his rookie deal and the Bills have declined his fifth-year option.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Watkins will hit free agency, but it certainly means the Bills are questioning his long-term viability with the franchise. Also, keep in mind that Doug Whaley is now out as general manager and new coach Sean McDermott has really taken over the team’s football operations as well. With a new sheriff in town, Watkins may not be in McDermott’s vision for the team.
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If Watkins does indeed become a free agent, he becomes an interesting option for Chicago. First, the Bears obviously need help at the position. If White doesn’t pan out, Watkins could step in as a potential replacement for White, and if White does turn it around, the two could create a dynamic duo for Mike Glennon or Mitch Trubisky.
Other teams know the potential Watkins possesses so there will be plenty of interest for him on the free agent market. Teams will have to pony a pretty penny to land Watkins, and with that contract, there would be plenty of concern.
Watkins injury history cannot be sneezed at, especially coming to a team that has been dealing with a mountain of injuries over the past couple seasons. Despite all the positives that Watkins brings to the table, his injury history and the price he will almost certainly demand may be enough for the Bears to say pass if he becomes available.
Watkins does have the type of explosiveness and athleticism that Ryan Pace loves, but with the question marks surrounding him, if the Bears sign him, the contract could be one they soon regret. While it may be tempting, the best bet would probably be for the Bears to spend their free agency dollars elsewhere.
Finally, yes, it’s May 2017 and we’re looking ahead at 2018 free agents. With the Bears’ 2017 looking rather gloomy, it’s never too early to see what’s on the horizon.