It’s one thing for Mike Williams to make less than Pro Bowl WR Vincent
Jackson. It’s another thing for Williams, who is hoping to get a contract extension done prior to the 2013 season, to be earning less than the players
below him on the depth chart that are vying for the third WR spot.
No wonder Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams wants a hefty raise that would come with a contract extension. Williams, who is in the final year of his rookie deal that he signed after being a fourth-round pick in 2010, is set to make only $630,000 in base salary in 2013.
To put that number in perspective, that’s less than non-starting receivers Derek Hagan, Kevin Olgetree and Tiquan Underwood are scheduled to make in the upcoming season.
Williams, who is coming off a season in which he caught 63 passes for 996 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns, has caught 193 passes for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns in his three-year career with the Bucs. By comparison, the newly signed Hagan, who is entering his eighth season in the NFL and is making the league minimum of $840,000, has just 129 catches for 1,480 yards and six touchdowns in his career.
Williams, a three-year starter, has also produced more in three years than the combined career statistics of both Underwood and Olgetree, who are vying for the third receiver spot on the depth chart. Olgetree has 57 receptions for 730 yards and four touchdowns in four NFL seasons, while Underwood has 39 career receptions for 566 yards and two scores in his four years in the league.
Together, Olgetree and Underwood have 96 receptions for 1,296 yards and six touchdowns, which isn’t even half of the production that Williams has put up in just three years. Olgetree is slated to earn $750,000 in 2013, while Underwood is scheduled to have a base salary of $715,000.
Williams and his agent, Hadley Englehard, have discussed a possible contract extension with general manager Mark Dominik this offseason, but have not yet agreed to terms.
When asked about how contract talks were progressing, Williams said, “All I can say about it is that it’s very close” back in June during the team’s mini-camp. But that was then and this is now. Englehard has not recently commented on extension talks, and Dominik has made a practice of not commenting on contract negotiations at all. However, sources tell PewterReport.com that periodic talks are still ongoing.
Yet without any tangible signs of progress as training camp approaches, there is a chance that Williams might have to play out the final year of his contract before an extension could be hammered out. Waiting until next offseason to sign the talented receiver could be a risky move for the Buccaneers as Williams is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2014.
Dominik will have both the franchise and transition tags available to him in 2014, but might need to use the franchise tag for quarterback Josh Freeman, who is also in a contract year. The 2013 franchise tag for receivers is $10,537,000, while the transition tag number for receivers this year is $8,867,000.
With Pro Bowler Vincent Jackson the clear primary receiver in Tampa Bay, earning an average of $11.1 million per season, the Bucs may not feel that Williams, who is the second receiver, is worth earning in excess of $8 million per season. Williams has previously taken to his Twitter account and said, "Make me a Buc for life."
With just 47 more catches in 2013, Williams will move into the Top 10 in career Bucs receptions. With 269 receiving yards in the upcoming season, Williams will have 3,000 yards and move into eighth place in Tampa Bay annals for receiving yards in a career.
If he sticks to his career average of seven touchdowns per year, Williams will surpass Joey Galloway and move into fifth place on the list of all-time touchdowns scored in Tampa Bay history with 30. With 23 career scores, the Syracuse product is just 12 TDs from surpassing tight end Jimmie Giles (34) as the Bucs’ all-time receiving touchdown producer.
Williams’ 11 receiving touchdowns as a rookie in 2010 set a franchise record for the most TD catches in a single season, beating Joey Galloway’s mark of 10, which was set in 2005.
Given the fact that Williams has out-performed his contract, especially with such 2012 season that resembled his strong rookie campaign, a big raise that would come with a long-term contract extension would be well deserved.
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.