In First Year, Raiders' Williams Underperformed

Team gave wide receiver a huge contract, but he was hurt and didn’t produce as expected in 2019

Wide receiver Tyrell Williams of the Raiders.
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When the Raiders signed wide receiver Tyrell Williams a year ago, it seemed a perfect match.

The 6-foot-4 former Chargers standout was familiar with the AFC West, had shown excellent big-play ability and would give quarterback Derek Carr a big target who’d averaged more than 15 yards per catch over four pro seasons.

But in his first season in silver and black, Williams’ production was disappointing. Bothered by a foot injury the whole season (plantar fasciitis), he missed two games and wasn’t at his best. He caught 42 passes for 651 yards (a 15.5-yard average) for six touchdowns, but Oakland had been hoping for much more – something akin to his 2016 season, when he caught 69 passes for 1,059 yards and seven TDs.

The Raiders gave Williams a four-year contract worth as much as $44 million, with half of it guaranteed. General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden hoped Williams would be a dynamic complement to Antonio Brown, acquired from the Steelers.

Instead, Brown was gone even before the regular season began and Williams didn’t step up to take his place as the No. 1 option.

Now, as the Raiders prepare for 2020, Williams goes into Year 2 with the team hoping for a rebound – and critics argue the Raiders aren’t getting value for their millions.

In fact, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report wrote recently that Williams is the team’s most overpaid player, especially in comparison to other more productive wide receivers making similar money (or less).

“His annual salary is still on the same level as those owed to Keenan Allen, Emmanuel Sanders, Tyler Boyd and Tyler Lockett,” wrote Sobleski. “An opportunity arose, and Williams didn’t exactly capture the moment. The Raiders front office, meanwhile, is still searching for help at wide receiver.”

The Raiders are hoping to add a wideout either in free agency (which begins March 18) or the draft (which begins April 23), or both.

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