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.