Chargers keep WR Mike Williams with new deal

COSTA MESA (News4usonline) – Los Angeles Chargers fans can exhale now that wide receiver Mike Williams has re-signed a multi-year extension with the ballclub. It was a move that looks to prove beneficial on both sides.

“I was excited,” Williams said during a press conference after he had signed his new deal. “Since I’ve come here, I feel like they trust me, so I kind of expected it. Everything was kind of up in the air, but when I got the news, I was excited.”

For Williams, who went for career-highs in receptions (76) and receiving yards (1,146 yards), the signing of a multi-year deal gives him an opportunity to continue to be part of what the Chargers are building.

“Just building on what we had last year,” Williams. “Obviously, last year was the first year that we were in the offense, so just build from that, get the chemistry better with the quarterbacks and go out there and have fun.”

Well, it looked like Williams had a lot of fun last season. In the 16 games he played, Williams was targeted by quarterback Justin Herbert 129 times. That number is by far the most he’s been targeted since the Chargers took him with the No. 7 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

At 6-foot-4, Williams is a big, physical receiver, a target where if and when Herbert decides to throw a jump ball, the former Clemson standout can go up and get it. By signing a new contract with the Chargers, Williams talked about the importance of getting a chance to expand on the football rapport he has with Herbert.

“That was big,” Williams remarked. “That was a big part of it, too; just to be with a quarterback who is a franchise quarterback, a guy who is able to do the things that he is able to do and get me the ball. That was huge.”

March 9, 2022. Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams at the podium during a press conference as he talked about his contract extension with the ballclub. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

In his fifth year with the Chargers, Williams looked every bit like the player that the team envisioned him to be.

Before the 2021 season, the highest number of catches that Williams had in a single season was 49. That was in 2019. Williams owes his pass-catch explosion differential to his coaches prodding him to show off his entire play-making abilities.

“That was what [Head] Coach [Brandon] Staley and the group wanted me to do: showcase everything that I can do in my game — the short routes — getting the ball in my hands in space and making plays happen with my legs,” Williams said. “That’s kind of what the group wanted me to do. They wanted me to be a playmaker, and I was able to showcase that.”

When it comes to Williams and his productivity, the numbers don’t lie. He came into the NFL as a big-play wideout. He more than lived up to that billing last season. Out of those 76 passes that he caught in 2021, Williams averaged 15.1 yards a catch.

Playing opposite of the steady Keenan Allen, Williams got in on 896 offensive snap counts, eclipsing his previous high of 839 he had in 2019. And let’s not forget his dominant play when the game is on the line. Williams showed up and showed out with the game on the line, catching five go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter and in overtime last season.

“When the big lights are on, I’m ready to make plays when everybody is watching,” said Williams. “When the team needs a play, I feel like I’m capable of making that play. I just trust in my ability.”

Dennis J. Freeman

Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He is also the publisher and editor of the Compton Bulletin newspaper. Dennis has more than two decades of reporting experience. His beats include covering sports, social and racial justice, and equal rights. He earned a journalism degree from Howard University. "I write what I'm passionate about."