Former LA Chargers wideout Tyrell Williams was released by the Las Vegas Raiders this week. Back in 2019, Williams signed a four-year, $44.3 million deal. After years of tough injuries, his tenure with the team finished two years before his contract was supposed to end.
Williams attempted to play through a serious foot injury in 2019 and put up surprisingly decent numbers. He virtually matched his 2018 Chargers’ production. 42 receptions for 651 yards and six touchdowns was sort of the usual Williams’ season stat line. The issue was that Vegas was looking for him to be a WR1, and those numbers just didn’t cut it for that responsibility.
That wasn’t all on Williams in my opinion though. Aside from the foot injury, the Raiders acquired Antonio Brown and were expecting him to be the first receiver. This didn’t come to fruition as Brown’s chaotic time with the Raiders ended just weeks before the season. That left a massive void in the offense that an injured Williams was trying to fill.
Williams tore his labrum before the 2020 season started and stated that he wanted to play through it. Just two weeks before the season though, Vegas placed him on season-ending IR.
Why Tyrell Williams could make sense for the LA Chargers:
There are probably other teams that have bigger needs at receiver than the Chargers, but Williams could be a nice fit into the offense. The way I see it, this is relatively low risk-high reward. A wide receiver #3 role wouldn’t be bad for him. Williams, when healthy, is a talented wideout that can run routes with the best of them.
The familiarity of playing with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams can’t be discounted either. Sure, Philip Rivers is no longer at the helm. It would insert a veteran presence in the receiver room that knows what his role is, even if it is with a new coaching staff.
The reason I see it as relatively low risk is because the Chargers finally have some speed with their depth. Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson are still decent options if something does go wrong with Williams.
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Both have speed for days, even if they don’t have quite the same level of route running ability. Back when Williams was last with the team, Travis Benjamin was really their only other speedster. He was aging and had a problem with drops.
As for the contract, I’m not seeing a way that another team would break the bank for Williams. After two devastating injuries, his cap hit surely won’t come out to the $11.5M yearly that he was making with the Raiders. It’s probably not unreasonable to land him at a clip between $4-7M on a short term deal.
This helps the Chargers on two fronts. First, it bolsters the receiving group so the Chargers don’t really have to spend much draft capital at WR. Secondly, it allows the younger receivers like Johnson, Guyton, and K.J. Hill more time to develop.
Do I think a Williams move ends up happening? Probably not. It’s a completely new coaching staff now. They’re probably going to want to find their own guys in free agency or the draft rather than rely on the products of the old regime.
This would also be likelier if Philip Rivers was the quarterback and not Herbert. Remember how Rivers lobbied for Dontrelle Inman back a few years ago.
Despite the odds of a return being unlikely, there’s potential in Williams being a good #3 or 4 option in the rotation. If he plays well, it works itself out. If he doesn’t, you have young guys with speed that can step into his role anyway. I’d rather go with an established veteran than spend a high draft pick at the position, to be honest.