The contract numbers are in for new Packers receiver Sammy Watkins' deal and it's heavy on incentives
GREEN BAY – For Sammy Watkins to resurrect his career with the Green Bay Packers, the veteran receiver will first need to make their 53-man roster.
Watkins signed a one-year deal worth $1.85 million, according to a source with access to the contract. It includes a $1.12 million base salary, per-game roster bonuses totaling $330,000 ($19,411 per game), and a $50,000 workout bonus. Only the $350,000 signing bonus is guaranteed.
The Packers signed Watkins hoping he can be a veteran leader at a position thinned after trading Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, and watching Marquez Valdes-Scantling sign as a free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs. If Watkins becomes a staple in coach Matt LaFleur's offense, his salary could quickly escalate. His contract is worth up to $4 million based on incentives for playtime, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
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Watkins will be paid a $150,000 bonus if he plays 55 percent of snaps, a $350,000 bonus if he plays 60 percent of snaps, or a $525,000 bonus if he plays 65 percent of snaps.
The contract includes a $150,000 bonus for 50 or more catches, a $350,000 bonus for 60 or more catches, or a $525,000 bonus for 70 or more catches.
He will receive a $150,000 bonus for 550 or more yards, a $350,000 bonus for 650 or more yards, or a $525,000 bonus for 700 or more yards. He'll receive a $150,000 bonus for seven touchdowns, a $350,000 bonus for eight touchdowns or a $575,000 bonus for nine or more touchdowns.
For context, Watkins has never had 70 catches in a season. The only time he had 65 receptions in a season was his rookie year of 2014. He has had 50 catches in a season three times, the latest in 2019.
Watkins exceeded 700 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons, but not since. He had 593 receiving yards with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, and 673 receiving yards with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.
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His only season with nine touchdowns was 2015 with the Buffalo Bills. He had eight touchdowns with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, his only other season with seven or more.
The Packers would gladly pay out the incentives to see Watkins rediscover the production he had early in his career. Such a season could offer flexibility as the Packers develop the young receivers they are expected to add in next week’s draft. Watkins’ contract leaves a wide variance for his 2022 salary, based on what he does on the field. It starts with surviving final cuts at the end of training camp.