Former Penn football standout Justin Watson has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported today. Selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the wide receiver has accrued two touchdowns and 258 receiving yards on 23 receptions in his three-year career. He has also handled return duties for the Bucs, as well as racking up several tackles over the years on special teams coverage.
Watson was placed on the Physically Unable to Play (PUP) list in July of 2021 after undergoing knee surgery. He remained inactive until December of 2021, and the Bucs waived him and re-signed him to the practice squad this January.
Even before his injury, Watson saw significant obstacles in his path to playing time over the course of his time in Tampa Bay, with the likes of Pro Bowlers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown, along with backup receivers Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, and Cyril Grayson ahead of him on the depth chart. Though Tampa Bay released Brown following a bizarre on-field outburst during the team’s Week 17 game against the New York Jets, and Godwin is an impending free agent coming off of a season-ending injury, Watson’s window for in-game action in Tampa Bay appeared to be shut.
The Quakers’ career record-holder for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and all-purpose yards will now continue his career in Kansas City, trading newly-retired legend Tom Brady for the leader of the NFL’s youth movement at quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. He will join an already formidable receiving corps composed of Pro Bowlers Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, speedster Mecole Hardman, and potential free agents Byron Pringle and Demarcus Robinson. Watson will look to carve out a significant role on the Chiefs’ high-powered offense as the league looks ahead to the 2022 season following Super Bowl LVI next week.