Two days after K.C. hoisted the Lombardi Trophy after knocking off the San Francisco 49ers, Watkins told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he is still considering some sort of break from the game this offseason, whether he’s a member of the Chiefs or not.
“At the end of the day, I think the Kansas City Chiefs are in control as far as contract talks, you know? A guy of my stature, I’m still young, I still think I have a lot of good football in me. But as you know, it takes a toll on the body, the mental, the physical and I’m gonna really weigh my options out and see if I need to sit out the whole OTAs or something like that, just to get my mental back and be with my kids and family,” Watkins said. “It’s been a long season for the last two years. We’ve been in the playoffs, going all the way to the third round last year, then won the Super Bowl. So I honestly think mentally, physically, soulfully, spiritually, I need some downtime. So I will talk to coach [Andy] Reid about it.
“I don’t control the contract, a trade or if they’re going to give me a bigger contract. That’s not my worry. I’m not really focused on the money aspect of it. I’m really focused on my health, mental health and really checking in on and making sure I’m OK with my life, my family, my wife, my kids. Once I figure that out, I think I’ll be fine.”
After four seasons with the Buffalo Bills and the Los Angeles Rams, Watkins signed a three-year deal worth $48 million with Kansas City during the 2018 offseason. After two so-so regular seasons and two spectacular postseasons, during which he dealt with injuries and played in 29 games, Watkins has one year left on his deal and is owed $14 million in 2020. However, if the Chiefs were to move on from Watkins, they would take on only $7 million in dead cap.
All this begs questions in the offseason as to whether K.C. want to retain Watkins at that price, whether the Chiefs will try to trade the receiver or whether they will renegotiate his deal. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that Kansas City is more likely to trade or release Watkins. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said Tuesday afternoon that the Chiefs want to work something out with Watkins, though it won’t be easy.
And then there’s the query as to whether Watkins is willing to play on a pay cut or at all, given his recent comments. The receiver answered that definitively on SiriusXM NFL Radio, saying he has no intention to walk away.
“I’m too young to retire. I have not done enough yet, you know what I mean?” Watkins said. “Why not go win another championship and continue to be great? … Be a Pro Bowl receiver. Be an All-Pro. There are a lot of things I haven’t accomplished yet being. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest accomplishments in this league but I haven’t did the individual goals yet and hopefully I can accomplish those next year either with the Kansas City Chiefs or another team.
“Those are the little things I want to hit, not to be selfish, but those are things I haven’t really done in my career and those are things I want to do. Hopefully the next eight, nine years if I continue to be blessed and play that long, that I have those Hall of Fame numbers that I’m shooting for. Those are the dreams that I still haven’t accomplished yet and those are the things I still want to accomplish.”
At just 26 years old, Watkins has already reached the peak of professional football. But as he said, the receiver has not reached his personal goals. A 2014 first-round pick, Watkins has yet to reach the Pro Bowl or be voted to an All-Pro team. He has gone over 1,000 receiving yards in a season just once and averaged 707.3 yards per year through six campaigns. After scoring eight touchdowns in 2017, Watkins has logged just six in the past two regular seasons.
Now that he has won the Super Bowl, these are the numbers that stand out to him, the things to drive him to want to play on, for Kansas City or another team.
All Watkins needs is a little time off to get his head (and contract situation) right.