Tyrell Williams spent the 2020 season on the Raiders’ IR list. The parties will part ways ahead of the 2021 slate. The Raiders plan to release the veteran wide receiver at the start of the 2021 league year in March, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).
With a Williams release saving the Raiders more than $10MM in cap space, this has long been the expected course of action for a team that further revamped its wide receiver group last year. This move will create $11.6MM in additional funds for the Raiders, who had already paid out Williams’ guarantees.
The Raiders signed Williams in 2019. While that deal only contained a season’s worth of guarantees, the Raiders kept Williams around last year. But a torn shoulder labrum ended his season before it started.
Williams’ Raiders fit was off from the start. The team planned on having the ex-Charger as its No. 2 wideout in 2019, having traded for Antonio Brown. When the latter proved to be a monumental distraction ahead of his release, Williams was asked to be a go-to target. In 2020, Las Vegas drafted Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards — both of whom figure to feature heavily in the Silver and Black’s 2021 passing attack. Nelson Agholor, a fellow 2020 arrival, is a free agent.
Williams caught 42 passes for 651 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 — numbers nearly identical to his 2018 Bolts work — and has a 1,000-yard season (2016) on his resume. The former UDFA is on the verge of returning to full strength, with Pelissero noting that is expected within the next month, and is still south of 30. Williams will turn 29 on Friday.
That said, the longtime AFC West contributor will enter what could well be a buyer’s receiver market. Numerous starters are on track for free agency, and Williams will head to the market after missing a full season. With the cap expected to drop by nearly $20MM, this is a bad combination for the six-year veteran. Former Chargers assistants have dispersed throughout the league, however, and Williams would represent a buy-low option for the likes of Frank Reich (Indianapolis), Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen (Philadelphia) or Anthony Lynn (Detroit). All three teams are in need at wide receiver.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.