Antonio Brown isn’t the only new wide receiver heading to Oakland this offseason. Tyrell Williams will provide the Raiders offense another weapon.
Tyrell Williams wasn’t the biggest name available in free agency, but it was widely acknowledged he’d be the wide receiver to receive the biggest contract. Not many NFL observers expected the Raiders to be the team to hand him that deal though.
As it stands, whoever head coach Jon Gruden selects to be his quarterback next year is going to have a pair of shiny new wideouts to utilize. Antonio Brown will start on one side and Williams will line up on the other side of the field. Williams has the size and athleticism to make teams pay for trying to cover him with a single defender. Suffice it to say, the Raiders offense is going to look a lot different in 2019.
Terms have not been disclosed at this time.
Williams didn’t get a ton of targets for the Chargers, but when Philip Rivers did look his way he was very productive.
The move should push Jordy Nelson back into the slot. That’s a much better fit for his skills at this point in his career.
It’s clear that Williams has a lot of talent, the Raiders are betting that he can step up into a starter’s role and become a consistent threat. He’s already shown his ability to make big plays when given the opportunity.
It’s clear the Raiders entered this offseason with a clear plan. New GM Mike Mayock and Gruden set out to address their offensive issues in free agency. Combining the Antonio Brown trade with signing Trent Brown and Williams in free agency gives Oakland three new, high-end starters heading into 2019.
The question here is whether or not Williams is really worth this sort of contract. He clearly benefited from the lack of wide receivers available in free agency. There were plenty of quality slot receivers on the open market, but Williams was the best outside guy capable of starting by some distance. The Raiders paid a premium to lock him up long-term.
Still, there’s a solid chance that Williams can become a really productive player in this offense. Brown is going to get a ton of attention on the other side of the field and Nelson can be a threat from the slot. Don’t be surprised if Williams flirts with a 1,000 yard season if he can stay healthy in 2019.
The signing also benefits the Raiders by allowing them to focus all of their draft resources on fixing the defense. In particular, look for Mayock to try to find multiple pass rushers in the opening rounds of April’s draft.
Ultimately, this free agency move is a risk for the Raiders, but it’s one with tremendous upside. Backing up their big investment in Antonio Brown makes a lot of sense for Oakland.