Tyrell Williams

AFC West Notes: Williams, Raiders, Broncos

As cut day approaches, let’s take a look at the latest news coming out of the AFC West:

  • As Hard Knocks viewers observed, Mike Williams suffered a shoulder injury while diving for a pass in practice. While Williams was said to be out “for a while,” Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen noted recently the fourth-year wideout may well return for Week 1. “Mike’s gotta be ready to play,” Steichen said, via the Orange County Register’s Gilbert Manzano (on Twitter). “I think Mike has got that mindset to be ready to play. We look forward to having him on September 13.” A thin Bolts receiver depth chart — beyond WR1 Keenan Allen — increases the importance of Williams returning.
  • Rookie Raiders cornerback Damon Arnette suffered a setback recently. The first-round pick sustained a thumb fracture, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will require Arnette to wear a soft cast on his injured hand, which he did at one point with the Buckeyes. The Raiders are counting on Arnette to play a key role in their secondary this season.
  • One of Mike Williams‘ ex-Chargers receiver teammates will not play this season. The Raiders placed Tyrell Williams on IR this week, ending his second season with the team. Tyrell Williams suffered a torn shoulder labrum for the second time as a pro, and Jon Gruden said an attempt to play through this malady would have required Williams to wear a movement-restricting harness (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur). With a Williams cut saving the Raiders $11MM-plus next year, he looms as a likely 2021 release.
  • Although Demar Dotson operated as the Buccaneers’ starting right tackle for the past eight seasons, his Broncos signing does not mean he will stay a first-stringer. The current Denver plan is for Elijah Wilkinson to again fill Ja’Wuan James‘ position, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post notes. Dotson would then play a swing role behind Wilkinson and embattled left tackle Garett Bolles. Whether Wilkinson starts in Week 1 or not, the Broncos will enter a seventh straight year with a different right tackle to open a season.

Raiders To Place Tyrell Williams On IR

Tyrell Williams‘ second Raiders season will end before it starts. The team is placing the veteran wide receiver on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

This comes a bit after news of Williams sustaining another torn shoulder labrum. Williams was planning to attempt to play through such an injury, as he did in college and with the Chargers on prior occasions, but this IR development may well indicate he will undergo surgery. That will indeed be Williams’ course of action, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Because the Raiders are not carrying Williams onto their regular-season roster, he will not be eligible to return from IR. That would not matter anyway. This surgery is expected to sideline Williams for around six months. Considering the team’s actions at receiver this offseason, it is certainly possible Williams will be elsewhere in 2021.

The Raiders opted to guarantee Williams’ $11MM base salary this season, but the team proceeded to draft Henry Ruggs in Round 1 and Bryan Edwards in Round 3. The latter has worked as a starter in camp, impressing the team ahead of his rookie season. With a Williams 2021 release set to provide $11.6MM in cap room, it is likely the team will opt for such savings in what could well be the biggest salary cap reduction in NFL history.

Last year, the Raiders brought in Williams to play as the No. 2 wideout alongside Antonio Brown. With Brown’s antics driving him out of Oakland before playing a game, more became expected of Williams. However, he recorded only 42 catches for 651 yards while battling injuries to both feet. With the rookies joining Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow in Las Vegas’ passing attack this year, Williams’ role may have been reduced. Instead, he will rehab ahead of his age-29 season in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Williamses, Broncos, Fans

The Chargers suddenly have an issue at wide receiver. Already carrying a thin depth chart beyond Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the Bolts now have just Allen and not much else in the way of proven targets healthy. Williams is battling a shoulder injury, one that Anthony Lynn said will keep the 2017 first-rounder “out for a while,” Daniel Popper of The Athletic tweets. As of Monday, Williams was expected to be ready for the Chargers’ Week 1 game. But Lynn said Tuesday he is not sure that will be the case. The former Clemson standout battled injuries in college and has frequently dealt with setbacks as a pro. But he has mostly been available for the Bolts, having played in 31 regular-season games over the past two seasons. The Chargers may well pursue receiver help via free agency soon.

Here is the latest from the West divisions, moving first to a former Chargers receiver:

  • Tyrell Williams will try to play through some familiar pain this season. The Raiders wideout suffered a torn shoulder labrum, but as of now, the veteran is not envisioning a prolonged absence, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). After a multi-week rest period, Williams will attempt to play despite this ailment. Shoulder issues have become chronic for the ex-Charger. He played four games despite a labrum tear in 2016 and played through this issue in the same right shoulder as a senior at Western Oregon in 2014. But Williams is not a lock to finish the season, with his agent informing NFL reporter Josina Anderson (Twitter link) surgery may be on the table if the shoulder “continues to dislocate.”
  • Only two Broncos defenders remain from the team’s Super Bowl champion unit. Along with Von Miller, linebacker Todd Davis is still with the team. The latter, however, is currently out with a calf injury, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Davis missed most of the Broncos’ 2019 training camp with a calf malady. Denver, which just lost rookie linebacker Justin Strnad for the season, did not do much at linebacker this offseason and is again counting on Davis to be a starter.
  • SoFi Stadium will debut next month, but fans will not be permitted to watch those games. The Chargers and Rams will not have fans at home games “until further notice,” the teams announced. The 49ers will take a similar route. No fans will attend their Week 1 game against the Cardinals. With California being one of the most cautious states during the pandemic, this is certainly not unexpected.
  • Possessing one of the NFL’s premier home-field advantages, the Seahawks will not have the luxury of fans creating that edge for them for a while. The team will not have fans in the stands for at least its first three home games. Seattle’s first three home games are scheduled to occur in Week 2 (Patriots), Week 3 (Cowboys) and Week 5 (Vikings). The NFL will not regulate each team’s fan policy, leaving it up to teams and cities to determine stadium capacities this season.

West Rumors: Raiders, Henderson, Broncos

Tyrell Williams dealt with injuries to both of his feet last season, missing time because of it. The maladies took a while to recover from this offseason, but the veteran Raiders wideout believes he has nearly surmounted the nagging problems.

Shoot, it’s been a long offseason with my feet,” Williams said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “I did two months after the season of just rehab and resting them. It was still taking a long time and I started getting pretty discouraged, but … um, about two months ago, I finally got over the hump and my feet have been feeling good. I still feel it a little bit, but compared to what I had … it’s nothing compared to what I was going through during the season.”

Williams missed two games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot but said his left foot became a discomfort source after he returned. The second-year Raider then dealt with pain in both feet the rest of the way. Williams still averaged 15.5 yards per catch, but the Raiders drafted two wideouts and a gadget player (Lynn Bowden Jr.) in the first three rounds. The Raiders guaranteed Williams’ $11MM base salary earlier this year, but the ex-Charger has no guaranteed money on his deal beyond 2020.

Here is more injury news from the Raiders’ receiving corps and the latest from the rest of the Wests:

  • Las Vegas first-round pick Henry Ruggs suffered an injury helping a friend move last month but is expected to be ready for camp. While the Raiders’ newest speed merchant received stitches, he sustained no muscular damage, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Around six weeks remain until rookies report for camps.
  • The Rams are beginning a new era at running back, having cut five-year starter Todd Gurley. Darrell Henderson will be one of the players vying for the starting job. The second-year back, however, underwent ankle surgery this offseason, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. This issue may be behind him, with Rodrigue adding that Henderson has already participated in multiple Jared Goff-conducted throwing sessions (Twitter link). Henderson, Malcolm Brown and rookie second-rounder Cam Akers represent the top options in Los Angeles’ backfield.
  • The Broncos‘ backfield has two primary options, but it’s perhaps just as muddled. Given a two-year, $16MM contract, Melvin Gordon is in line to take Phillip Lindsay‘s starting job despite the latter’s back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. New Denver OC Pat Shurmur was said to have pushed for a “bellcow” back like Gordon, but Denver’s new OC denied he did so on Thursday. “I think that (rumor) is a false narrative. I’m all for adding good players at every position. I feel like Phillip Lindsay is an outstanding player who we can hand the ball to, or throw the ball to. The fact that we have two running backs now who can be very explosive with the ball in their hands, whether they throw it or run it, is a good thing,” Shurmur said, via Denver7’s Troy Renck. “You need more than one running back. … The whole ‘pounding the table’ narrative — listen, I’m the new guy here.”
  • While Lindsay showed promise as a pass catcher at Colorado, Gordon has been more productive as a pro in that area. Gordon’s $8MM-AAV deal and Lindsay’s $750K 2020 base salary would point to the former being ticketed for a change-of-pace role. Shurmur, however, said he envisions formations that will feature both Gordon and Lindsay, Renck tweets.

Salary Guaranteed For Raiders’ Tyrell Williams

Today, Tyrell Williams‘ $11MM base salary for the 2020 season became fully guaranteed, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) notes. Before Wednesday, the wide receiver’s salary was guaranteed for injury only, meaning that the Raiders could have cut him without any fiscal penalty. 

After an injury-riddled season, Williams was not a slam dunk to return to the Raiders in 2020. Playing through plantar fasciitis in both feet, Williams didn’t have the sort of breakthrough campaign the Raiders were expecting when they handed him a four-year, $44 million deal last year.

Williams’ 42 grabs for 651 yards and six touchdowns were roughly in line with his previous work, but it wasn’t the sort of production that you’d want out of an $11MM/year player. He did provide glimpses of potential, however. Williams kicked off the year with six catches for 105 yards against the Broncos and later torched the Texans for a seemingly easy 46-yard touchdown – an emphatic statement following a multi-game absence.

The Raiders’ infatuation with Jets receiver and soon-to-be free agent Robby Anderson is well-known, but Williams’ presence could slow their pursuit. Instead, the Raiders could use one of their two first-round picks on a rookie WR, and they’ll have a bevy of top-end talents from which to choose. Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III, and Tee Higgins are among the players that headline this year’s crop of receivers and depending on how the early picks shake out, they could all be on the table at No. 12. Even if there’s an unexpected run on receivers early, at least one of those players should be available at No. 19.

For now, Williams and Hunter Renfrow are slotted in as the Raiders’ top targets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Jackson, Verrett, Roberts, Williams, Paulsen

Some assorted contract details from around the NFL:

  • Malik Jackson, DT (Eagles): Five years, $50MM, $17MM guaranteed. $9MM signing bonus, $1MM 2019 salary guaranteed. $7.6MM salary in 2020, $4.6MM of which is guaranteed. Base salaries of $9MM, $10MM, and $11MM in 2021-2023. Twitter link via Dan Graziano of ESPN.com.
  • Jason Verrett, CB (49ers): One year, cap charge of $1.5MM. $1.1MM salary of which $600K is guaranteed, plus $400K signing bonus. Verrett “can earn up to $3 million for the season if he is active for all 16 games. It’s $31,250 per game on 53-man roster (up to $500k) and an additional Roster Bonus of $62,500 per game on 46-man game day roster (up to $1 million)”. Twitter links via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com.
  • Darryl Roberts, CB (Jets): Re-signed. Three years, $18MM max value, but essentially only a one year deal according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. There’s $6MM in guaranteed money, with another $2MM of his 2020 salary guaranteed for injury only. $5MM salary in 2020, $6.5MM salary in 2021, and zero dead money in either year if they want to cut him.
  • Tyrell Williams, WR (Raiders): Four years, $44MM. There was originally reported to be $22MM in guaranteed money, but that’s apparently not true. There’s only $10MM in guaranteed money in the contract, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Logan Paulsen, TE (Falcons): Re-signed. Paulsen’s one year deal will have a base salary of $930K. Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

Contract Details: Williams, Webb, Verrett

Here are the latest particulars in recently agreed-upon contracts, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (unless otherwise noted).

Raiders Notes: Brown, Bell, Williams, Joyner

The 49ers weren’t the only team to miss out on Le’Veon Bell. Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes that the Raiders made an offer to the star running back, and “there was some real buzz in the building” yesterday.

The reporter also notes that the Raiders thought they could land Bell if “money wasn’t the most important thing,” as the running back reportedly preferred to play for the Raiders. After missing out on Bell, the team also took a run at Mark Ingram, who ended up landing in Baltimore.

Bell ultimately agreed to a four-year, $52.5MM deal with the Jets, forcing the Raiders to look elsewhere for a running back. At the moment, the team is rostering three backs in DeAndre Washington, Chris Warren, and James Butler.

Let’s check out some more notes out of Oakland…

  • The Raiders weren’t even considering an Antonio Brown trade until the deal between the Steelers and Bills fell apart, general manager Mike Mayock told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (Twitter link). The organization ultimately acquired the Pro Bowl wide receiver in exchange for a third- and fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
  • The Raiders continued to show interest in wideout Tyrell Williams even after pulling off the Brown trade, according to Jason La Canfora (on Twitter). The team ended up agreeing to a four-year, $44MM deal ($22MM guaranteed) earlier today. La Canfora notes that several other teams pursued Williams, including the Ravens, Saints, Steelers, Jets. Many of those teams were offering contracts between $8MM and $9MM annually, with the 27-year-old ultimately receiving $11MM a season from the Raiders.
  • The Raiders are planning to rely on Lamarcus Joyner as their primary nickel cornerback, writes Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The 28-year-old has primarily played safety throughout his career, although he did play some cornerback early on his career. The team will occasionally deploy Joyner at safety, although Gehlken notes that the team could still add another player at the position. Joyner is set to sign a four years, $42MM deal with the Raiders.

Raiders To Sign Tyrell Williams

Having already added superstar Antonio Brown to their receiving corps, the Raiders are making another pass-catching upgrade. Oakland has agreed to sign wide receiver Tyrell Williams, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network tweets that it is a four-year, $44MM deal for Williams, with $22MM guaranteed. The contract maxes out at $47MM with incentives.

As recently as last night, there was a belief the Raiders were not a serious contender for Williams. That may have been due to their acquisition of Brown, or perhaps Williams had been generating enough serious interest from other clubs that Oakland assumed it was no longer a suitor. But Williams will head to the Bay Area after being connected to the Raiders throughout the free agent process.

Viewed as arguably the most intriguing wideout of the 2019 free agent class, Williams had reportedly drawn interest from a number of clubs, including the Colts, Steelers, and Browns.

Williams, 27, first emerged as a legitimate NFL wideout in 2015. With Keenan Allen injured, Williams stepped in as Philip Rivers‘ No. 1 target, hauling in 69 receptions for 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns. Over the past two years, Williams’ volume declined as Allen re-entered the lineup and 2017 first-round pick Mike Williams began taking snaps, but he’s still remained effective. In 2018, Williams ranked 24th among 84 qualifying receivers in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, meaning he was productive on a per-play basis.

As expected, the Raiders and head coach Jon Gruden have been active this offseason, acquiring not only Brown and Williams, but left tackle Trent Brown and safety Lamarcus Joyner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Not Expected To Sign WR Tyrell Williams

While the Raiders were previously connected to free agent wideout Tyrell Williams, it sounds like they’ve ended their pursuit. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (via Twitter) that Williams isn’t expected to sign with the Raiders.

However, it sounds like the Raiders will still be eyeing some reinforcement at receiver. Gehlken notes that the team is likely to round out their wideout corps via the draft. The team already added one major play-maker in Antonio Brown, and they’re still rostering reliable options like Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, so opting for the younger route makes plenty of sense.

While Williams may be down a suitor, he should still be able to secure a lucrative deal elsewhere. The 27-year-old broke onto the scene in 2015, hauling in 69 receptions for 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns with the Chargers. Over the past two years, Williams’ volume declined as Keenan Allen re-entered the lineup and 2017 first-round pick Mike Williams began taking snaps, but he’s still remained effective. In 2018, Williams ranked 24th among 84 qualifying receivers in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, meaning he was productive on a per-play basis.

While his numbers aren’t all that glowing, he could still end up inking the most lucrative deal among wideouts this offseason. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts have been connected to Williams, but it’s uncertain if these teams still have interest in the free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.