Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: Sammy Watkins almost certainly isn’t going to be a superstar for the Green Bay Packers. The ninth-year pro signed a one-year contract with the team yesterday, getting $4 million in maximum compensation with likely a good portion of that in incentives.
Watkins has been hurt a fair amount the last few years, missing four games or more in three of the last four seasons. And although last year was a bit of a bounce-back season in terms of his yards per catch average, Watkins had a career-low in every receiving counting stat: targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns.
So what’s the big deal with Watkins’ arrival? Ultimately, this is a transition plan and a sign that the Packers still intend to find long-term answers at the wide receiver position in the 2022 NFL Draft. Signing someone like Julio Jones would have been a different story — he might still be a long-term WR1 for a few years, whereas Watkins, on a one-year deal, is clearly a stopgap. But his presence, along with that of Randall Cobb, should provide some veteran leadership as the team brings along the inevitable rookie draft picks and gradually works them into the offense.
So even if Watkins ends up being a pretty minimal contributor on the stat sheet, keep in mind two things. First, the Packers are signing him to be a short-term option, not a long-term star; and second, they’re paying him accordingly.
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Watkins' arrival shouldn't change the equation for the Packers in the draft. They still absolutely need long-term solutions at wideout, and Watkins' one-year deal won't change that.
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Still, Rodgers is evidently on board with Watkins' arrival, texting in to Pat McAfee during his radio show when the signing was reported to express his happiness with the move.
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This article looks specifically at handling the transition for rookie receivers, but add Watkins to the mix now as well.
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