Mike Williams slid down the draft board a few years ago thanks to off-the-field issues, and because of his slide his paycheck as an NFL player was significantly less than it should have been based on his talent. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a chance on Williams, and in spite of his concerns, selected him and signed him to a very team-friendly contract.
Since signing, Williams has been a bit of a revelation for the Buccaneers, delivering on the promise he showed in college before plummeting down the draft board. So he has performed well above his draft range, which also means he’s outperformed his rookie contract, and with the Bucs offense coming up on a make-or-break season in 2013, the Bucs number two receiver is also coming up on a contract year.
But unlike Josh Freeman, who has shown nothing but uncertainty as to “what he is” as an NFL player, Mike Williams has shown the Bucs a definitive role he can fill. He’s one of the better number two receivers in the NFL. So while Freeman is going to have to prove himself worthy of a new contract on the field in 2013, the Buccaneers don’t want to risk Mike Williams having a breakout contract year and see him sign elsewhere after proving to be a franchise player as he enters his athletic prime.
So they’re close to agreeing to terms on a contract extension for the wide receiver, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Williams is very deserving of long-term security, as he’s proven to be a very reliable and capable second receiver, who has decent chemistry with Josh Freeman. But how much will this long-term contract cost Mark Dominik and his team?
I would guess that Williams is looking at a deal around five to six million dollars per year over four years, and as we’ve seen with many other Bucs’ deals, it will likely not include a signing bonus, but will instead feature guaranteed money that is mostly front loaded to the first year or two of the deal. So 4 years, 23 million dollars with 8 million guaranteed over the first two years seems about the right range for Williams to lock up his future in Tampa.
When do you think Williams will put a pen to paper and sign with the Bucs long-term? And do you think it’s worth it for the Buccaneers to invest in Williams for the next few years? Let us know in the comments.