Mike Williams has one season left on his original four-year rookie deal and his agent, Handley Engelhard, is hoping to negotiate a long-term extension. According to Engelhard, the Buccaneers have been receptive to the idea and the two sides plant to discuss it further after the draft in April.
When the Buccaneers used a fourth-round pick to take receiver Mike Williams in the 2010 draft they were optimistic that his issues that surfaced at Syracuse were over, and that he could contribute at the NFL level.
But even the most optimistic Tampa Bay front office member, and Buccaneers fan, most likely didn’t fathom the production that Williams would display over the first three years of his contract.
In doing so, it appears that Williams has earned the right to renegotiate his original deal (approx. 4-yr, $2.4 million), and according to William’ agent, Hadley Engelhard, Bucs general manager Mark Dominik is also open to the option.
“We had open an dialogue some during last season and in Indianapolis last week, and we (Handley and Dominik) have had some very productive conversations about Mike’s contract and we will continue to talk,” Engelhard told PewterReport.com on Thursday morning.
“They have asked that we let them get through free agency and the draft and we are looking at a timetable of May to address it further.”
Williams has rebounded from some character issues at that reared their head while in college at Syracuse. He was suspended for academic reasons for the entire 2008 season and then quit the team midway through the 2009, a year in which he was leading his team with 49 receptions for 746 yards and six touchdowns in just seven starts. Those concerns caused his stock to plummet and Williams wasn’t selected until the 101st pick of the 2010 draft.
Immediately Williams impressed the Buccaneers coaching staff in his rookie training camp and was named the opening day starter. Williams has started all 48 games in his three-year career.
“When you look at Mike’s production you can see he has outplayed his original contract starting all 48 games in the league,” Engelhard said. “Mike really likes Tampa, and they like Mike. He’s definitely outplayed his fourth-round compensation, and they want him to be a part of the future.”
As a rookie Williams led all NFL rookies with 65 receptions for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns The 11 touchdown receptions set a franchise record. In 2011 Williams, like a majority of the Buccaneers regressed and underperformed seeing his production dip with 65 receptions for 771 yards and only three touchdowns.
But in free agency last March, the Buccaneers signed former Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson to a five-year, $55.5 million deal. The addition of Jackson took some of the pressure – and coverage – away from Williams and the Buffalo native excelled, seeing his numbers almost mirror his rookie season with 63 receptions for 996 yards and nine touchdowns.
With three highly productive seasons already on the books, Engelhard said Williams wants to stay in Tampa and still even has more upside that hasn’t been tapped.
“Mike wants to stay in Tampa and loves playing for the Buccaneers, having a good relationship with his teammates and the organization,” Engelhard said.
“I spoke to John Garrett (new Buccaneers receiving coach) recently – John and I go back a long way – and John told me he was excited to work with Mike and that he feels he still has tons of potential and his best is yet to come.”The Buccaneers declined comment on this article, staying in line with their policy to not comment on contract negotiations.
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