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Cheese Curds, 4/20: Packers get a deal on Watkins as other WRs begin holdouts

Several fourth-year receivers are staying away from the start of their teams’ workouts in the hopes of getting traded or landing a new contract.

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Tennessee Titans v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It’s all about wide receivers this week, both for the Green Bay Packers and several other teams around the NFL. For the Packers, it’s looking ahead to the draft to imagine who they might land next week as well as new information about their new veteran receiver’s contract. For other teams, the news is much less pleasant.

Last week, the Packers signed veteran free agent Sammy Watkins to a deal worth “up to” $4 million, but those outside the organization were understandably curious about the practical compensation on the deal. We now have it, and boy what a steal this could be for Green Bay. With just $350,000 guaranteed, the Packers have a truly minimal investment and should Watkins show up and fail to impress in training camp, the team can let him go with a truly minimal impact. Even the incentives that make up over half of the deal don’t kick in until he hits fairly substantial numbers.

Around the NFL, however, it seems that there may be some wide receivers moving around between now and next Thursday. A truly unique market for the position has bubbled up this offseason, and a group of four specific wideouts — all drafted in the second or third rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft — are holding out for new contracts. Could the Packers be in on some of these players? It’s not out of the realm of possibility for the team to value an established veteran wideout over an unproven rookie draft pick, but the prospect of acquiring and then paying one of these players looms large, and the Packers might need to get their deal done with Jaire Alexander to free up some additional cap space to help.

Here’s a look at all of the wide receiver news going around today.

Contract numbers in for Green Bay Packers receiver Sammy Watkins deal |
This deal contains just $1.85 million in base value with just $350,000 guaranteed. Watkins will have incentives for snaps, catches, and receiving yards, with three levels of incentives for each; to start collecting extra cash, Watkins will need to play 55 percent of snaps, catch 50 passes, and/or rack up 550 yards.

Tennessee Titans’ A.J. Brown erases ‘Tennessee’ from his Twitter bio | Titans Wire
Meanwhile, displeasure of fourth-year wide receivers is running laps around every other storyline this week. Brown is the latest to erase any mention of his current team from his social media, joining Deebo Samuel, while Terry McLaurin is joining those two in sitting out the start of voluntary workouts (though he is reportedly in attendance, just not doing on-field work).

Schefter: Deebo Samuel 'Put a Halt to Everything' with 49ers in New Contract Talks | Bleacher Report
Here's more on Deebo, who clearly wants a new deal but who, according to reports, is the one holding up the process in San Francisco.

Rise of the receivers: How WRs’ new leverage is impacting roster-building strategies - The Athletic ($)
This is a tremendous look at why this is all happening right now. Specifically, these four 2019 draft picks are all set to cash in with big deals in 2023's free agency, but each wants a new deal before the final season of their rookie contracts. And with Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill unlocking the door of the wideout market, these players want to bust it down and rush through.

Former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch becomes minority investor in NHL's Seattle Kraken | ESPN
On an unrelated note, Lynch doing donuts on the Kraken's practice facility with the Zamboni might be the funniest thing you'll see all day.