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Why the Chiefs signed wide receiver Sammy Watkins

They gain a former No. 4 overall pick.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Rams Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams traded a starting cornerback and a second-round pick in order to drag Sammy Watkins out of Buffalo before the 2017 season. Less than a year later, the free agent wide receiver is joining the Chiefs.

The Rams could have held on to Watkins with the franchise tag. The team opted instead to shore up the defense by tagging Lamarcus Joyner. Now Watkins will start over again in Kansas City. It’s a three-year deal worth $48 million, with $30 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

What does Watkins bring to the Chiefs?

Watkins wasn’t a game-changer in his first season on the West Coast, but he added a valuable extra dimension to the league’s top-ranked scoring offense. He averaged more than 15 yards per catch, showcasing the skills that made him the first receiver taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.

While Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods emerged as Jared Goff’s top targets, Watkins’ ability to stretch the field and find the end zone made him an invaluable piece of the team’s surprising 2017 turnaround. He led the team with eight receiving touchdowns, averaging about one for every five catches.

Watkins can be the same type of complementary player in KC. The Chiefs already had a loaded offense with running back Kareem Hunt, deep threat Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Now, they add a bona fide No. 1 receiver. Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes assumes the starting job this season, and he’ll have one impressive cast of characters to work with.

Watkins will be just 25 years old next season and brings a unique brand of playmaking ability few other receivers can match. Though Watkins’ impact in LA may not have shined through on the stat sheet, he made his limited touches count for a division champion.

Are there any concerns with Watkins?

Watkins had a career low with 39.5 receiving yards per game last season and made just 39 catches over 15 games. That last number is important, however. After injuries haunted him throughout his tenure with the Bills, Watkins was healthy and effective heading into free agency.

If he can stay healthy, he’ll have every opportunity to prove himself as a player worthy of this deal.

With Watkins in the lineup, the Chiefs are the early favorites to repeat as division champs in the AFC West.