Detroit Lions: 3 pending free agents to watch in Super Bowl LV

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Detroit Lions
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The Detroit Lions need to focus on Sammy Watkins during Super Bowl LV.

The often injured speedster Sammy Watkins is expected to return to Kansas City Chiefs’ lineup for Super Bowl LV after being unavailable throughout the playoffs due to a calf injury.

The 27-year old burner is a serious deep-threat at receiver and is a pending free agent.  Watkins took some time to find his groove as a professional and never lived up to his draft stock.  Watkins was drafted fourth overall by the Buffalo Bills out of Clemson in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Watkins showed signs of becoming an elite pass-catcher in his second season, recording nine touchdowns and amassing 1,047 receiving yards on just 60 catches.  That’s good for 17.5 yards per reception, displaying his big-play potential.

The unfortunate thing is that it had been Watkins’ ‘high-water’ mark thus far in his career.  Watkins has not been able to replicate that production but remains a threat opposite Tyreek Hill, and Patrick Mahomes can make anyone a threat.

Watkins is coming off of a lucrative three-year, $48 million deal.  I don’t anticipate Watkins landing a deal that mirrors that expiring a deal in 2021, both due to his recent production and the decreasing salary cap.

High-end WR2’s usually hover around $10 million per season, and I don’t mean players playing as second receivers that will soon go on to be a WR1 elsewhere.  Watkins is firmly a WR2, similar to Marvin Jones.

The Detroit Lions have an immediate need at the position with everyone aside from Quintez Cephus and Geronimo Allison, whose contract had been deferred from 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic.

If the Lions choose to move on from Kenny Golladay, Watkins will be forced into WR1 duty and give Jared Goff a familiar weapon.  Watkins spent one season with Goff in Los Angeles back in 2017.  In that season, Watkins recorded eight touchdowns and totaled 593 yards on 39 receptions.

I expect Watkins to earn somewhere around $9 million per season on a multiple-year deal.