The top wide receivers are off the free agency board. Sammy Watkins is expected to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Many hoped that if the 49ers wouldn’t get Allen Robinson, that perhaps the 49ers were going to go after Watkins, that appears to not be the case. There wasn’t much in the way of rumors or reports to suggest Watkins and the 49ers were in conversations, but it would have been nice to have.
So now it seems Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are satisfied with their wide receiver group and Pierre Garcon helming it for 2018 once he’s back from neck injury. This could change with a draft pick, but there’s only so many mouths to feed, and with Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Kendrick Bourne all showing chemistry with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, another big free agent may not have been necessary. The 49ers have the money for one, but that salary cap money can be gone quick if they aren’t careful, especially if it’s like the $30 million in guarenteed money for Watkins that Ian Rapoport reported. A Watkins or Robinson arrival could mirror the year the 49ers stockpiled wide receivers in Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson. Both were solid, but taking advantage of them along with Anquan Boldin resulted in some disappointment in targets, and Watkins is no stranger to voicing his displeasure in targets. Not to mention someone may have to be let go of, or request a release at the end of the offseason (which equals dead money).
Drafted fourth by the Buffalo Bills, Watkins had two solid seasons, averaging 1,014 yards. His third was cut short due to injury and for his fourth in 2017, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams and produced less-than-stellar numbers. His second two seasons in the league left him with an average nearly half of his first two with 511 yards.
The Chiefs will have a nice compliment to wide receiver Tyreek Hill and newly crowned starting quarterback Patrick Malholmes will have yet another weapon to throw to. Tight end Travis Kelce, running back Kareem Hunt, Hill, and Watkins seems like a nasty offense.