@Mikebuc19) earlier this offseason and declared he wanted to be a "Buc for life." With a new, six-year contract worth a reported $40.25-million, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik and Williams' agent, Hadley Englehard, helped accomplish that feat.
Dominik talked about the signing at Wednesday's press conference.
“It is a great way to kick off camp, bringing Mike Williams onboard on a six-year agreement,” Dominik said. “Mike is a player that has produced very well for our organization, had been extremely productive, bought into what we are and who are, and what we are doing going forward.
“It has been a long negotiation. Hadley Engelhard his agent and I had numerous upon numerous conversations stemming over a year to get to this point. I am excited for Mike, I am excited for our football team and I am excited for our community, because he is big part of why we are building an explosive offense. Mike is obviously only finishing his third season and already is in our (Bucs) Top 10 in history in scoring touchdowns and was one of the most explosive players in the National Football League.”
Schiano was also pleased a deal was able to get done.
“We are blessed to have Mike now for the long term,” Schiano said. “And the way he plays and practices the game is really important to me. This is a guy who loves football. As I said when we arrived here, we are looking for guys that are going to do things the right way and love the game of football – not likes it. And this guy right here, loves it. “
After his general manager and head coach spoke, Williams told the media what it meant to him to get the deal done and the security that came with it.
"I feel blessed, and want to thank my Mom, my little brother – everybody, I need to thank everybody,” Williams said. “I don’t think I could have gotten it without Mark (Dominik) coach Schiano, the great people around me, the Tampa weather. This is where I want to be for life. Buc for life. That’s why I always finish off my tweets with Buc for life. This is what I wanted. This is every thing I wanted. I wanted to be here. I just can’t wait to get camp started and continue on doing what I am doing.
Williams said the worry of a new deal is a thing of the past.
“I am relieved and like I was telling my agent it was in the back of everyone’s head, not just mine,” Williams said. “Everybody kept bringing it up, things like that. If I drop a pass, am I thinking about that? I was just trying to go out and play but now that it is done that is what I can just do.”
The new contract takes effect immediately and gives Williams a raise over the $630,000 base salary he was set to make in 2013, which was the final year of the rookie deal he signed after being selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Williams has been a star performer for the Buccaneers offense for three years as has recorded 193 catches for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns during that span.
Williams has essentially been underpaid since his breakthrough rookie season with 65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns, which set a franchise record for the most TD receptions in a season in helping to lead the Bucs to a 10-6 season. The former Syracuse star is relieved that his contract extension and hefty raise was finalized prior to the start of Bucs training camp, which begins on Thursday, July 25. The players reported for camp physicals and a conditioning test, which calls for 16 100-yard sprints, on Wednesday.
Dominik talked about some of the reasons the Buccaneers made the decision to reward Williams with a year left on his rookie deal.
"For us, like coach talked about, Mike is a football junkie,” Dominik said. “He lives and breathes this. This is what he is all about. And he handled it great. Mike has been here for the whole offseason program, reported to camp today, he has been about football and that is what make it easy for us as an organization to look at it. It is a big commitment from both sides, it was a big decision for Mike Williams and his family to decide to sign an extension and it is a tremendous decision by the Glazer family to invest another $40 million in this football team and to continue to build this football team.
"With Mike he has handled it the right way. And that is important to us when you do a deal a year early, I think it is important. But Mike has played very well. I think he has played to the level of guys in his draft class and I also think he is playing above the level. Mike is a unique player. I think he has one of the best body controls in the NFL. It is a rare trait, and I am happy he is part of this football team, because I think he complements Vincent Jackson perfectly.”
Williams' production dipped in 2011 as Tampa Bay endured a disappointing 4-12 record with 65 catches for 771 yards and three scores as defenders targeted Williams with double coverage more often after his spectacular rookie campaign. But the arrival of Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson last season helped free Williams up. Gone were the constant double teams, and Williams was able to exploit lesser cornerbacks as the primary focus of opposing defenses was to stop Jackson, who established career highs with 72 receptions for 1,384 yards, in addition to eight TDs. Williams responded with 63 catches for a career-high 996 yards and a team-leading nine touchdowns.
Williams' productivity led to quarterback Josh Freeman becoming the franchise's first 4,000-yard passer (4,065) in 2012 and helped Tampa Bay's offense rank ninth in the NFL last season, averaging 324 yards per game. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound flanker is looking forward to teaming up with Freeman and Jackson for another fantastic season while taking the Bucs offense to new heights in 2013.
“The Super Bowl, that is the top goal,” Williams said. “No matter what stat it is, catches…anything…. If you don’t win the Super Bowl… football is the ultimate team goal and that is the team reward – the Super Bowl.”
–Mark Cook contributed to this report