I’m going to start this off by saying the Bengals are not going to sign Sammy Watkins in free agency.
With that out of the way, it appears Bengals running back Joe Mixon is campaigning for the team to go after soon-to-be free agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The second-year running back sent out this tweet on Monday:
On Thursday, the wide receiver responded.
You never know brother this business is crazy..— King me (@sammywatkins) March 7, 2018
And Mixon replied, too...
Know that the city waiting on you if you were to come brotha #Goodluck— ⚡PRIMETIME!!!⚡ (@Joe_MainMixon) March 8, 2018
There was talk of the Rams franchise tagging Watkins on Monday when the deadline for such action came and went. Instead, Los Angeles tagged safety Lamarcus Joyner. Now, Watkins is expected to hit the free agent market on March 14 and he’ll command a lot of attention on the open market.
Spotrac is projecting Watkins to receive a three-year deal worth about $5.9 million annually for a total of $17.9 million.
The Bengals simply aren’t going to pay that much money to a wide receiver when that position is already accounting for so much of the team’s salary cap. 16.48 percent of the Bengals’ 2018 money is currently slated to be spent on wide receivers, which is the most for any single position. The defensive line accounts for 16.82 percent of the current spending, but that’s for both defensive ends and defensive tackles.
One way the Bengals could lower the spend at wide receiver would be cutting 31-year-old wide receiver Brandon LaFell whose $4 million salary is not guaranteed in 2018. But the team would need to feel really confident in the development of its young receivers like Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Cody Core and Josh Malone for that to happen. And even so, the point of cutting LaFell would be to utilize the young talent, not to sign an expensive free agent receiver.
It’s nice that Mixon is campaigning for the Bengals to get top-level talent, but it’s not going to happen with Watkins. Maybe he should start looking at some offensive linemen who he’d like to have blocking for him instead.