With training camp right around the corner fans are bound to see a lot more of one thing (besides arrests), and that’s guys like Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams complaining about contracts.
Williams is going into the last year of his rookie contract, and rather than play without the safety of an extension he and the Buccaneers have been trying to get a deal done. If a recent tweet is any indication those talks might have stalled.
“I FEEL LIKE MY FAMILY DON’T WANT ME. HAVENT I BEEN EVERYTHING YOU WANTED AND MORE WHY IS THIS SO HARD FOR YALL. .. AND WE SAY FAMILY FIRST,” Williams tweeted.
What Williams is referring to with the ‘family first’ comment is one of Head Coach Greg Schiano’s favorite mantra’s, ‘Forget About Me, I Love You.’
Since Williams was drafted in the fourth round in 2010, he has played well. As a rookie in 2010, he set a franchise record with 11 touchdown receptions and led all rookies with 65 receptions. His numbers slipped during his sophomore season (65 receptions, 771 yards, 3 touchdowns), but they went back up last season to a respectable 996 yards and nine touchdowns (on 63 receptions).
Contract talks only stall because an agreement can’t be reached on what a player deserves to be paid. So the question now is just what the Buccaneers have offered him relative to what he thinks he is worth.
His production definitely does not warrant elite-type money, but it does warrant good money. Each season he has caught right around half of the balls thrown his way, and has yet to crack the 1,000 yard barrier – the most common benchmark by which receivers are often judged. However, he does rank in the top ten for average yards per catch (15.8) and yards after catch (5.7).
Where the sticking point may be is in the perception of what Williams could do if he was the No. 1 receiver rather than the No. 2. As long as the Buccaneers have Vincent Jackson, Williams will remain the No. 2 option in the passing game, and the team will want to pay him accordingly. He may have no choice, but to play out the last year of his contract and test the free agent market next year.