The Los Angeles Rams saw their promising 2017 season come to a disappointing end last Saturday, which shifting their attention toward the upcoming offseason. One of the primary focuses for the Rams will be re-signing star wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career.
According to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN after an interview with general manger Les Snead, there is a sense around the organization that the Rams will place the franchise tag on Watkins.
Los Angeles acquired Watkins from the Buffalo Bills last offseason and immediately gave him a significant role. In his first campaign with the Rams, he recorded 39 catches on 70 targets for 593 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Although Watkins didn’t necessarily put up the numbers that were expected upon his arrival, he did show reason to believe he can be a major piece to the puzzle for the long haul.
The 24-year-old displayed explosive speed and his big-play ability that can make him a game-changer in the passing game. What should also be taken into consideration is that his presence opened up the field for teammates like Robert Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp, who respectively put up strong campaigns in their own right.
Woods hauled in 56 catches on for a career-high 781 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Kupp posted 62 catches for 869 receiving yards and five touchdowns, which helped him set the Rams’ rookie record for most receptions.
Watkins recently voiced that “it would be a pleasure” to return to the Rams next season. The fact that he’s publicly open to returning to the team should lend well to him working out a new deal. The decision to bring him back on the franchise tag could be used as a basis to work out a new, long-term contract. If not, it at least keeps him under contract for another year, and they could attempt to negotiate a contract the following offseason.