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Mike Williams

Jets may have added key outside option

I was looking some at Mike Williams, who recently signed with the Jets, and the numbers look a little better than I thought. He could prove to be a nice pickup.

The cost is modest. They’ve got him for one year, with $8.3 million guaranteed. There are also incentives that could raise it up to $15 million, but I don’t have all the details on those. I believe they’re going $1.7 million are tied to being active for games ($100,000 for each week he suits up).

Williams tore his ACL in Week 3 at Minnesota last year. While GM Joe Douglas says it’s unlikely he’ll be a full participant when training camp opens, they’re not ruling him out being in the lineup in Week 1. That will be 11 months after the injury.

If Williams (who’s 29) can get back to playing at anything close to what he’s been in the past, he’ll help them. He’s better than Allen Lazard (whom the Jets foolishly signed last year). Lazard played in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers (who encouraged the team to sign him) but Williams is faster and has better ability to come down with contested balls.

Williams evolved during his seven seasons with the Chargers. Initially they used him primarily as a downfield threat (at 6-foot-4, he’s effective at pulling down high throws). He went for 1,001 yards in 2019 while averaging 20.4 yards per catch. In each of his first three seasons as a regular starter, he caught fewer than 50 passes.

But Williams more recently has been a more complete receiver, with more short throws worked into his game. He averaged 4.8 catches in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons – a catch and half more than in those deep-threat years. And Williams last season was on pace for the busiest year of his career before getting hurt in that game at Minnesota. He caught 19 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown in his three games.

Since 2021, he’s averaged 4.9 catches for 72 yards in his 32 games, with 14 touchdowns. Those are top-20 per-game numbers in every category. In PPR scoring, he’s been the 15th-most potent receiver since 2021.

1.Cooper Kupp387.392.0.7521.2
2.Tyreek Hill497.196.9.6120.8
3.Justin Jefferson446.9102.3.5520.5
4.Davante Adams506.584.3.6618.9
5.CeeDee Lamb506.484.2.5918.8
6.JaMarr Chase446.083.9.6618.4
7.Keenan Allen397.280.3.4417.9
8.Stefon Diggs506.476.7.5917.6
9.Deebo Samuel434.467.6.7217.4
10.Amon-Ra St. Brown496.473.2.4616.9
11.A.J. Brown475.581.3.4916.5
12.Mike Evans484.871.1.6916.1
13.Jaylen Waddle475.372.0.4015.1
14.Chris Godwin466.268.5.2814.8
15.Mike Williams324.971.6.4514.8
16.DeAndre Hopkins365.065.2.5014.6
17.Michael Pittman496.064.5.3114.5
18.Amari Cooper474.669.7.4814.5
19.DJ Moore514.966.8.4014.3
20.Tee Higgins414.667.7.4614.1
21.DK Metcalf504.662.6.5214.0
22.Chris Olave315.169.8.3114.0
23.Tyler Lockett494.863.3.4613.9
24.DeVonta Smith504.863.6.3913.5
25.Diontae Johnson465.360.0.3013.3
26.Garrett Wilson325.465.2.2213.2
27.Brandon Aiyuk494.264.4.4113.2
28.Christian Kirk464.762.5.3513.1
29.Adam Thielen475.152.3.4413.0
30.Terry McLaurin514.663.6.2912.8

Williams has to stay healthy, of course. That’s the big issue, and time will tell. And I think he’ll be more of a sidekick than a go-to option for the Jets, with them having Garrett Wilson. But if Williams is reasonably healthy, I think he’ll outplay that contract.

—Ian Allan

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