One of the top remaining franchise tag candidates has signed an big-money contract. The Chargers have inked Mike Williams to a three-year, $60MM deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). $40MM of the total is fully guaranteed.
The Chargers had made it clear they were willing to tag Williams, though a long-term deal was always the preference. The 27-year-old played out last season on the fifth-year option, which earned him $15.7MM. Given his play during the campaign, it became clear a significant raise would be coming.
Williams posted 76 catches and 1,147 yards – both career highs. He also registered nine touchdowns, the second-highest total of his NFL tenure. Alongside Keenan Allen, he played a major role in the Chargers ranking second in the league in passing yards, while finishing top-five in scoring. This deal means that both Williams and Allen will next become free agents in 2025.
The $20MM per-year average is almost exactly what the franchise tag ($19.1MM) would’ve cost the Chargers in 2022 anyway, though Schefter notes that the first year of the deal includes $28MM. Unlike so many other teams, cap space was hardly an issue for Los Angeles; they entered the day with more than $56MM to work with for the upcoming season. This deal obviously takes a large bite out of that, but the medium-term pact should provide solid value for the team.
The main pieces to the Chargers’ passing attack will remain in place, something which is likely a necessity to compete in the AFC West. In a division already featuring Patrick Mahomes – and that just saw the arrival of Russell Wilson – points will need to be scored early and often to keep up.