Andy Reid won’t commit to Sammy Watkins returning to Chiefs in 2020

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said earlier this offseason he hoped to “bridge a gap” to keep wide receiver Sammy Watkins on the team in 2020, but head coach Andy Reid would not commit to Watkins returning when addressing reporters Thursday. Asked about the wideout’s future, Reid said “we sure like Sammy; he’s done a great job for us” but wouldn’t make any predictions about Watkins’ status for this season, as ESPN’s Adam Teicher noted.

“I try to stay as far away from that stuff as possible,” Reid added, per Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. “I dealt with all of that in Philadelphia.”

Reid, who’s fresh off his first career Super Bowl victory, closed his 14-year tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s final voice in personnel decisions — something that many believe contributed to his departure. In other words, he’s deferring to Veach, adding on Thursday that the Chiefs GM has been in communication with both coaches and Watkins regarding the receiver’s situation.

Due $21 million in 2020, the final season on a three-year, $48 million contract Watkins landed from Kansas City in 2018, the former first-round draft pick has long been speculated as a potential cut or trade candidate. The Chiefs currently own an estimated $177 in salary cap space — the lowest total in the NFL — and would save roughly anywhere between $7-14 million by releasing or dealing Watkins. They have other incentives to do so, too, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and defensive lineman Chris Jones all in line for big-money extensions over the next year or so.

Watkins has talked openly about his uncertain future, suggesting he’s OK returning to K.C. or playing elsewhere in 2020. He’s also offered conflicting opinions about whether he’d be willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Chiefs.

Originally the fourth overall pick of the 2014 draft, Watkins spent the first three years of his career with the Buffalo Bills, setting team rookie records and then topping 1,000 receiving yards in 2015 before injuries limited his production the following year. Traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, he spent one year in Sean McVay’s offense, starting 14 games, before joining the Chiefs. Watkins hauled in 52 passes for 673 yards and three touchdowns opposite Tyreek Hill in Kansas City’s Super Bowl-winning offense in 2019.

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