The NFL’s legal tampering period is underway and free agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins is set to be a hot commodity. Maybe.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweets that Watkins will have a “hot market” after failing to reach a deal to re-sign with the Los Angeles Rams before 11 p.m. central on Monday. Watkins is now free to talk with any team, including the Chicago Bears, who popped up as a potential suitor once it started to look like the Rams weren’t going to use the franchise tag to keep Watkins. Those whispers will only grow louder in the coming days.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter piles on with his expectation that Watkins will ultimately move on from Los Angeles. However, he feels different (than Rapoport) about the temperature of his market. Schefter says he doesn’t see a strong market developing for Watkins, to the point where he wouldn’t completely dismiss the idea of Watkins returning to Los Angeles. In either case, it’s fair to expect the Bears to be in the mix to add the WR to the roster.
Of course, if Rapoport’s “hot market” develops, the Bears will have to mix it up with others in a could-be pricey hunt for the high-upside potential No. 1 receiver. But if Schefter’s prognosis is on the nose, then it would probably be better news for the Bears to be negotiating against fewer teams than more. No matter how many teams are in the running for Watkins, the Bears should be among the ones sending out competitive offers.
Reminder: Watkins caught just 39 passes for 540 yards in 2017, but he hauled in eight touchdowns and was one of two receivers to be targeted at least 50 times and finish the season without a drop. While Allen Robinson might be the Bears’ (and our) top priority when it comes to receivers, the team could do worse than Watkins as a fallback.