Mike Williams is one of the most exciting wide receivers currently set to become a free agent in March. Williams' combination of size and speed allows him to do terrific damage vertically. Williams' leaping ability makes him one of the best contested-catch and red zone targets in the league. The former Clemson standout enjoyed the best season of his young career in 2021 by posting personal bests in receptions (76) and receiving yards (1,146) while scoring a healthy nine touchdowns. Williams was largely healthy and productive throughout 2021 and is set to receive a sizable and lucrative new contract.
Los Angeles Chargers general manager Tom Telesco must make a critical decision regarding Williams' future. Refusing to award him with the long-term security he's surely after could do great damage to their high-octane passing attack. Several teams would benefit from Williams' penchant for making explosive plays in the passing game, and his market should be exploding with suitors should he reach the open market.
We've identified three potential suitors that should have plenty of interest in signing Williams should the playmaker depart the Chargers.
The Commanders must sort out the future of their quarterback position this offseason, but they should also surround their new signal-caller with more talent at the pass-catching positions. Terry McLaurin is an elite No. 1 receiver, but general manager Martin Mayhew struggled to adequately fill out the position group a year ago.
The signing of Curtis Samuel backfired in a major way as the former Carolina Panther struggled to maintain health in what was largely a lost season in 2021. Slot wide receiver Adam Humphries is set to become a free agent and there's little reason for a reunion.
McLaurin deserves to be paired with a running mate that best complements his skill set while taking away some of the attention he receives from opposing secondaries on a weekly basis. Mayhew has salary cap space in abundance to solve this ever-present issue. The Commanders are currently set to possess north of $30 million in financial flexibility, via Spotrac. Washington's impending new-look offense must create more explosive passing plays in 2022 than the previous unit did in 2021. Williams is the type of receiver that suits what they should be searching for.
NEW YORK JETS
2022 is all about placing Jets franchise quarterback Zach Wilson in an ideal environment for him to attain and sustain success. Wilson experienced a topsy-turvy rookie campaign. Injuries and inconsistent play hampered Wilson as the former BYU quarterback continues to get acclimated to the NFL, but his final few performances lent plenty of hope to an anxious Jets fan base.
Wilson played an inspiring brand of football down the stretch despite losing his top two pass-catchers in Corey Davis and Elijah Moore to season-ending injuries. It represented an encouraging sign that the lightbulb is beginning to come on for Wilson, and the Jets should pounce on that development by surrounding him with as many offensive weapons as possible.
Braxton Berrios and Jamison Crowder are both set to become free agents. The pair of receivers are expected to explore opportunities elsewhere and the Jets will need to address the wide receiver position in some capacity again this offseason.
Signing Williams would represent an extremely bold move given the investments they made at the receiver position a year ago, but general manager Joe Douglas has the financial freedom to do so. The Jets currently rank sixth in the NFL in available cap space with more than $44 million in available money. The Jets should be aggressive while Wilson remains on an affordable rookie contract.
The Eagles surpassed all 2021 expectations by surprisingly qualifying for the postseason in Nick Sirianni's debut season as the head coach. It represented an admirable accomplishment, but Philadelphia's blowout loss to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round reflected how much work is still needed for the Eagles to reach their desired level.
Sirianni and general manager Howie Roseman should combine to attract the services of playmaking free agents that could make Philadelphia's offensive plan of attack a bit more diverse. The Eagles ran the ball at an extremely high level in 2021, but their passing game failed to instill fear in the heart of opposing secondaries.
The lack of overall success in that department could partially be chalked up to some poor drafting at the receiver position in recent years. The Eagles finally got it right with DeVonta Smith, but the likes of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor have failed to develop into legitimate every-down receivers. Smith does incredible work underneath, and pairing him with a receiver that could keep defenses honest with vertical ability would further unlock Smith's abilities as a sophomore. The Eagles have the need and cap space necessary (north of $20 million, currently) to consider pursuing Williams.