Packers Flashy New Addition: How Did He Get Here?

September 6, 2022
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2022 is the first year Sammy Watkins will play for the Green Bay Packers. For those who don’t know the backstory of Sammy and how he entered the league, this article is for you. If not, a little extra knowledge never hurts.

For the fourth time in Watkins’s career, he had to look for a new home in the National Football League. After a short period, the Packers reached out to Watkins and made him an offer. This will be Watkins’s fifth team that he’ll play for during what will be his ninth year in the league. Only time will tell on how well he meshes with MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense.

The Early Career Of Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the fourth man off the board as a wide receiver. He was drafted from the Clemson Tigers. Watkins had a great three-year career with the Tigers before committing to the NFL. He was used mainly as a wide receiver but he also experienced some rushes out of the backfield and backward passes that technically count as a rush. In his three years, he posted just over 3,700 yards from scrimmage and added 28 touchdowns. For a high-caliber team in Clemson, Watkins was a focal point on the offense.

Watkins only lasted three years with the Buffalo Bills before being traded to the Los Angeles Rams. During his three years, he only had one healthy season and racked up just under 1,000 yards. He was able to hit the 1,000-yard mark in his second year with fewer receptions, targets, and games before setting career lows in 2016 with the Bills. After the 2016 season, the Bills traded Sammy to the Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a 2018 second-round pick.

Sammy only played one year with the Rams before hitting free agency. He put up modest numbers with the Rams. He had 39 receptions for 593 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs signed free agent Watkins to a three-year contract worth $16 million. Over the three years he spent with the Chiefs, he compiled 129 receptions, 1,680 scrimmage yards, and eight touchdowns. He was a solid WR3 for the Chiefs but was eventually let go after his contract expired.

In 2021, Sammy signed with another team sporting a young dual-threat quarterback. The Baltimore Ravens signed Watkins to a one-year, $6 million contract. He went from Patrick Mahomes to Lamar Jackson. Foot injuries limited his playing time and he was only able to put up 27 receptions, 394 receiving yards, and one touchdown. Foot injuries have always been an issue for Sammy but it has never stopped him from getting signed by a team. In the 2022 off-season, the Green Bay Packers signed Watkins to a one-year $4 million contract.

Packers

“Playoff Sammy”

Sammy Watkins got the nickname “Playoff Sammy” due to his ability to play better than usual in the playoffs. He earned that title when he helped the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl in 2020 during the 2019 NFL season. 2019 was the best season for Watkins with the Chiefs as he posted his highest numbers with the Chiefs. He had 52 receptions, 673 yards, and three touchdowns in the regular season. In the postseason, Watkins had 14 receptions on 18 targets for 288 yards and one touchdown. His 20.6-yard average helped the Chiefs move the ball in the playoffs. Maybe this is the year when Sammy goes back to the playoffs, but with the Packers.

What Do The Packers Have In Sammy Watkins?

Packers wide receiver Sammy Watkins is currently listed as the second receiver on the depth chart behind Allen Lazard. He’s had the opportunity to play with some elite quarterbacks during his time in the NFL but now he gets to catch balls from four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Early in training camp, Rodgers started praising Watkins for his hands, route running, and work ethic. A healthy Watkins can help the Packers push for the playoffs once again. Even at the age of 29, Sammy still has some gas left in the tank to sprint downfield for a hail mary from Rodgers. Lazard doesn’t have the speed to stretch the field, so it’ll be up to Watkins and the rookies.

The Packers hope that Watkins can stay healthy and on the field. He hasn’t had a full season since his first year in the league with the Bills back in 2014, even then, he still battled injuries that date back to college. Sammy has the best chance to surpass Allen Lazard as the top option in this balanced offense that’ll include more receiving from the running back duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.