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What Mike Williams' contract means for the Los Angeles Chargers and the receiver market

Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) gains yardage against the Las Vegas Raiders during an overtime period at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers announced a three-year, $60 million deal with $40 million fully guaranteed for former seventh overall pick Mike Williams on Tuesday. That vaults Williams up to be the fourth-highest paid NFL receiver in terms of average per year. It was widely expected that Williams would be tagged if the two sides could not work something out, although they came to an agreement on what appears to be a very player-friendly contract from the outside. Let’s examine it further.


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Here’s a breakdown of Williams’s contract, with all data courtesy of our friends at Over The Cap.

Year Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Guaranteed Salary Cap Hit
2022 $7M $7M $0 $7M $14M
2023 $12M $7M $0 $12M $19M
2024 $17M $7M $3M $0 $27M

It is a very strong deal from the outside for Williams, with fully guaranteed salaries in Years 1 and 2. Because he has a $7 million dead cap charge in Year 3, it makes him almost uncuttable, meaning he will most likely earn the full value of the contract. As is the case with most Chargers contracts, the Year 1 cap hit is significantly lower than the rest of the years, especially the APY number. Williams will count toward only 6.5% of the 2022 cap for Los Angeles. The roster bonus in Year 3 resembles what the Chargers did for Keenan Allen and his deal. He received roster bonuses in the third and fourth years of his contract, as well.

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Player Team APY Total Guaranteed % Guaranteed
DeAndre Hopkins Cardinals $27.25M $42.75M 78.4%
Julio Jones Titans $22M $64M 97.0%
Davante Adams Packers $20.145M $0 0.0%
Keenan Allen Chargers $20.025M $32M 40.0%
Mike Williams Chargers $20M $40M 66.7%
Amari Cooper Cowboys $20M $40M 40.0%
Michael Thomas Saints $19.25M $35,648,043 37.0%
Chris Godwin Bucs $19,179,600 $0 0.0%
Kenny Golladay Giants $18M $28M 38.9%
Tyreek Hill Chiefs $18M $18.34M 34.0%

The main factors to examine here for Williams relative to the rest of the wide receiver market are his APY, fully guaranteed total and fully guaranteed percentage. Let's start with the big number: 66.7% of Williams' contract is guaranteed at signing. Outside of DeAndre Hopkins, there’s no one in the top 10 who even surpasses 50%. And if we really examine Hopkins’ contract, it is a big outlier, as is that of Julio Jones, who nearly got a fully guaranteed deal at signing.

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