The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already know what it’s like to be without solid receivers for an extended period of time, so the team ensured that situation would not arise again this offseason by giving Mike Williams a five-year extension which, combined with the final year of his rookie deal, is worth a total of $40.25 million.
So over the next six seasons, the 26-year-old former Syracuse standout will make an average of just over $6.7 million. That’s not a bad price for a player who is more than a serviceable No. 2 receiver.
Heck, Williams had 65 catches for 964 yard and 11 touchdowns in his rookie season and then caught at least 63 passes in his next two. For a guy who records almost 1,000 yards and near double-digit touchdowns year in and year out, this deal makes sense.
What most people don’t understand is that consistent players are the ones who make big differences for NFL teams. Williams redefines the word and he’s only going to get better with experience — and possibly a better quarterback.
I’m no Josh Freeman hater; on the contrary, I was actually one of his biggest fans for his first three seasons, including that down year in 2011. However, receivers like Vincent Jackson and Williams could be perennial Pro Bowlers with more consistency under center. That’s not to say Freeman can’t be that eventually, but if he doesn’t produce this year, it should be time for Mike Glennon or another youngster to take over.
That would bode well for Williams and the Bucs made it clear they understand the value of their young receiver, who will be in Tampa Bay for a long time, regardless of who is under center.