Mike Williams contract details: Former Chargers WR joins Jets on 1-year deal

It took some time for the Jets to settle into free agency, but they filled yet another major hole on Tuesday.

New York agreed to a deal with WR Mike Williams, who spent the day at the team’s facility on a free-agent visit. Williams was released by the Chargers before the official start of the league year last Wednesday, ending a seven-year stint in Los Angeles.

The Jets spent much of the past week repairing their offensive line, adding guard John Simpson and tackle Morgan Moses before bolstering the line with former Cowboys All-Pro Tyron Smith. That left wide receiver as arguably New York’s biggest need after Allen Lazard failed to emerge as a legitimate complement to Garrett Wilson in 2023.

Joe Douglas now believes he has a dangerous No. 2 receiver next to Wilson, giving Aaron Rodgers a key weapon for 2024 if Williams can stay healthy.

Here are the full details of Williams’ contract with the Jets.

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Mike Williams contract details

Williams is signing a one-year deal worth up to $15 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Williams comes with a lengthy injury history, but when healthy, there’s no reason to believe he can’t be an effective No. 2 wideout. The former first-round pick has two seasons of 1,000 yards, including 1,146 yards and nine touchdowns in 2021, but his availability has been more limited over the past two years.

Williams battled a nagging ankle injury throughout much of 2022, and a torn ACL cut his season short after only three weeks in ’23. The Jets aren’t asking Williams to be their No. 1 receiver, however. They simply need him to emerge as a steady target who draws some attention away from Wilson, and that’s something he should be able to do as long as he’s on the field.

While awaiting the complete breakdown of Williams’ deal, it will be worth watching for how much of the contract is incentive-laden. Tyron Smith’s contract with the Jets was heavy on incentives given he hasn’t played more than 13 games in any season since 2023, and Williams’ deal could be structured similarly after injuries derailed his tenure with the Chargers.

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Jets WR depth chart

1. Garrett Wilson 

Williams enters 2024 as the Jets’ unquestioned No. 1 receiver after he somehow managed to top 1,000 yards in 2023 despite New York’s abysmal quarterback play. Wilson has opened his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, routinely looking like the best player on the field in a sluggish Jets offense, and he’s set to finally catch passes from Rodgers in the fall.

2. Mike Williams

Williams arguably has No. 1 receiver talent — or at least he did before the injuries — but he’s used to sharing targets with another prominent pass-catcher. Williams was effective as a complement to Keenan Allen in Los Angeles, taking attention away from Allen when both were healthy, and the Jets are looking for him to have the same effect with Wilson in 2024.

3. Allen Lazard

Lazard was supposed to be that legitimate No. 2 receiver in 2023, but it just didn’t happen. The former Packers wideout totaled only 311 yards and caught less than 47 percent of his targets. 

Lazard remains on the roster, perhaps because of his history with Rodgers, but Douglas justifiably wasn’t comfortable making him the Jets’ No. 2 receiver in 2024.

4. Xavier Gipson

Gipson stole Mecole Hardman’s role before last season, famously scoring the game-winning touchdown on a punt return in Week 1, and he made an impact in the passing game with 229 yards on 21 catches.

While Gipson only figures to be an occasional target for Rodgers in 2024, the Jets will undoubtedly get him involved after showing flashes as a rookie. 

Mike Williams fantasy outlook 2024

It’s all about health with Williams, who will turn 30 early next season. It’s tough to read anything into New York’s offensive performance last season given the QB and offensive line issues, but chances are, there will be plenty of targets to go around for both Garrett Wilson and Williams to be top-36 fantasy WRs. It’s tough to count on Williams for that kind of production, though. Between his and Rodgers’ injury histories, Williams is best suited to be drafted as a high-upside flex who could produce like a WR2 if everything breaks right. 

Regardless of what you think about his outlook, he’ll have more value in standard leagues than full PPR. Williams has never topped 76 receptions in a season, instead relying on big plays and TDs for a disproportionate amount of his value. — Matt Lutovsky

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