The Oakland Raiders are not done with their dramatic offseason makeover. After trading for Antonio Brown and signing both Trent Brown and Lamarcus Joyner early in free agency, the Raiders are making another big move, snagging wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who spent the first four years of his career with the division-rival Chargers. The max value of the four-year deal is reportedly $47 million, $22 million of which is guaranteed.
This is the largest contract handed out to any non-Antonio Brown wide receiver this offseason, which makes sense being that Williams was considered one of the top wide receivers on the market this offseason, with league executives noting the potential he displayed with his 69-catch, 1,057-yard, seven-touchdown season when Keenan Allen was injured in 2016. Williams was never going to surpass Allen on the Chargers’ depth chart, and after the team drafted Mike Williams in 2017, the writing was on the wall for the end of his tenure there. Still, he contributed with 84 catches for 1,381 yards and nine scores over the past two years.
Even while playing a limited role in the Chargers’ offense, Williams was still one of the premier deep threats in the league last season, catching nine of 17 passes thrown his way at least 20 yards downfield. Among 41 players with at least 15 such targets, Williams’ 52.9 percent catch rate ranked fifth best in the league.
Playing opposite Brown will presumably provide Williams with one-on-one opportunities on the outside, and assuming Derek Carr (or whichever quarterback the Raiders take in the draft) is well-protected, he should be able to make field-stretching plays like he did in L.A. The presence of both Brown and Williams should open things up inside for Jordy Nelson, who had a solid but unspectacular debut season in Oakland when he was miscast as the No. 1 option for much of the year after the Amari Cooper trade.
The Raiders entered the offseason with arguably the worst overall roster in the league so they still have plenty of work to do, but they have a league-high three picks in the first round of the draft and still have plenty of spending power even after making four big acquisitions during the early portion of the free-agent period.