It’s hard to argue with the team’s decision to reunite an uber-successful FB/RB duo from college in the NFL. The thought-process behind it makes sense and, depending on how much value you hold in players being comfortable with their teammates, this makes a lot of sense.
Melvin Gordon has found a lot of success since Derek Watt was drafted by the team in the sixth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft and it’s likely the team will keep the two around until some unforeseen event (i.e., Gordon wanting to get paaaaiiiiiidddd) forces them to change things up.
Years with team: 4
“Derek Watt signed a 4 year, $2,469,682 contract with the San Diego Chargers, including a $129,682 signing bonus, $129,682 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $617,421. In 2019, Watt will earn a base salary of $720,000, while carrying a cap hit of $752,422 and a dead cap value of $32,422.”
Watt was drafted by the Chargers in 2016 to potentially provide a synergistic relationship with his college teammate and running back, Melvin Gordon. Though it’s likely a host of other factors, Gordon has averaged over nine rushing touchdowns per season with Watt on the team after posting zero scores in his 2015 rookie season.
Watt is more of a throwback than the majority of fullbacks you see utilized today, if there still are any. Just a couple years ago, the NFL still had John Kuhn, Marcel Reece, and John Connor. Now, it’s tough to find a consistently-used FB outside of the 49ers’ Juszczyk and the Chiefs’ Anthony Sherman.
Even if he doesn’t show up on the stat sheet for weeks at a time, Watt provides a the offense with slight versatility, allowing it to go from 4-wide to the traditional I-formation, and provide some pass-protection for Rivers when the team want’s to maximize security for their aging quarterback. He also is a standout on special teams, which is more important than most want to admit.
A lot of people would argue that Watt’s spot on the roster could be used for a more truly versatile player who could pose more of a threat to defenses than blocking iso for Gordon. He has a 53-yard catch to his name, but that was more-so a mental lapse by the defense than Watt’s superior athletic ability.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2019
Watt is essentially a shoe-in to make the roster each year unless there is a massive shift in the team’s offensive philosophy, which may be coming soon if the team decides not to extend/re-sign Watt prior to the end of 2019.
Fans should expect more of the same from Watt in 2019 as he’ll have a bevy of talented running backs behind him that the team will attempt to utilize throughout the season.
Fun Fact: Derek and his wife welcomed a baby boy into the world on February 17th, 2019 named Logan James Watt.