The very first thing that the LA Chargers did in what became a very busy offseason was sign Mike Williams to a new contract. Williams was coming off of a career season with the Bolts that got him paid handsomely on a three-year, $60 million contract.
It was a well-constructed contract from the Chargers' side of things as Williams has a small cap hit in his first season before having a bigger one in year two once the salary cap is expected to spike with the new NFL TV deal. If things go sideways, the Chargers can get out of the contract after year two with a minimal dead-cap hit.
All that being said, there were still fans that were against signing Williams in the offseason. Williams has not been the most consistent receiver and although he is very good, nobody really regards him as a top-10 receiver in the league. The very basic counter-argument for signing Williams was born: why pay him as a top receiver when he is not a top receiver?
That argument failed to look at the bigger picture and the fact that the market would continue to grow and the Chargers were wise to simply get out in front of signing Williams in the offseason.
The Chargers have been proven right, as these bad Mike Williams takes get even worse after DK Metcalf's new contract.
DK Metcalf signed a new three-year extension with the Seattle Seahawks worth $72 million, making him the seventh-highest paid receiver in the league in terms of AAV. This contract situation is fantastic for Metcalf as well as he can hit free agency again at only 27 after Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase reset the market in the future.
This now makes Williams the 13th-highest paid receiver in the NFL by AAV. Is Williams the 13th-best receiver? No. But if you run down the list of guys who have already gotten paid (which doesn't include the likes of Chase and Jefferson), then Williams is right where he should be. Paying a top-20 receiver the 13th-most money at his position is not a bad thing.
Yes, Williams was one of the six highest-paid receivers when he signed but the Chargers knew the market was going to reset and that getting him at that price would age gracefully. Williams has not even played a snap on this new deal yet and it already starting that aging process.
Now just imagine the alternative. The Chargers were never going to simply let Williams walk with Justin Herbert under center. You don't make the offensive weapons worse when you have an elite quarterback on his rookie deal.
The alternative was the franchise tag. He would have played just one season with a much higher cap hit and then when he became a free agent next season, his price would have been even higher. Instead of a three-year, $60 million deal he probably could have signed a three-year, $75 million deal.
The LA Chargers did the absolute right thing with Mike Williams' contract and they continue to get proven right with each new contract that a receiver signs.