The Facts: Before winning the Super Bowl, Watkins admitted he'd consider taking a pay cut to stay in Kansas City. That salary cut has finally come. Watkins announced Friday he's returning to Kansas City. Watkins agreed to a new one-year contract worth $9 million base salary with an additional $7 million in incentives that could get the deal to $16 million, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. The new contract also includes a no-trade clause, per Rapoport.
Diehards Line:The pay cut keeps Watkins in K.C. while adding a much needed $5 million in salary-cap space for a Chiefs team that was pressed as tight against the cap as possible ahead of the draft. After re-signing Demarcus Robinson, not jettisoning Watkins keeps the top four of the Chiefs receiver corps intact for another playoff run. Watkins earned 673 yards on 52 receptions with 3 TDs last season, his highest totals since 2015. The 26-year-old receiver wasn't worth the nearly $14 million he was set to make, but still plays a crucial role in Kansas City. Watkins led the Chiefs during their postseason run with 288 yards on 14 catches with a TD. In big playoff games the past two seasons, Watkins has stepped up huge, including in the Super Bowl comeback victory. In the end, his draft pedigree has made Watkins a good chunk of money. The redone deal represents the reality of his production while still earning a solid season's pay for his role in big games.