Mike Williams, Chargers Reportedly Not Expected to Reach Long-Term Contract Extension

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 13, 2021

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - JANUARY 03:  Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers and wide receiver Mike Williams reportedly aren't expected to agree to a long-term contract extension, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

Williams will make $15.7 million on a fifth-year option this season and could be poised for a career year thanks to the continued development of quarterback Justin Herbert.

If Williams does put up big numbers in 2021, he will be well positioned to cash in with a huge contract in free agency next offseason.

Talent has never been a question with Williams, but consistency has not always been present throughout his NFL career.

The 26-year-old wideout was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, and while he has shown flashes of brilliance, it is fair to say he hasn't lived up to his draft status yet.

In four NFL seasons, Williams has registered 151 receptions for 2,516 yards and 17 touchdowns, which works out to an average of just under 38 catches for 629 yards and just over four touchdowns per year.

Injuries have also been an issue for Williams. He missed six games during his rookie year before missing only two games over the past three seasons combined, but he has played through his fair share of ailments, limiting his effectiveness at times.

Williams' best NFL season to date came two years ago, when he set career highs with 49 receptions for 1,001 yards while also adding two touchdowns. He led the NFL with 20.4 yards per catch as well.

Last season, which was Williams' first with Herbert as his quarterback, he finished with 48 grabs for 756 yards and five scores.

Per Fowler, Herbert sounds intent on getting Williams more involved in the offense in 2021:

"We need to get him the ball more. He's one of those guys that you just have to find out there. He's going to get open. He's so physical, fast and strong that he's going to win--jump balls, deep balls and intermediate routes. I think we need to get him more involved in the short game and the quick game because he's an incredible player."

Williams scored a career-high 10 touchdowns in 2018, and if he can get back to being that type of red-zone threat with his 6'4" frame, he has a chance to make huge money in free agency.

Keenan Allen will undoubtedly remain Herbert's No. 1 target in 2021, but Williams could firmly establish himself as the No. 2, especially after tight end Hunter Henry left to sign with the New England Patriots in free agency.

Williams is taking something of a risk by betting on himself rather than trying to work out an extension with the Chargers, but if he reaches his potential at the same time he is set to become a free agent, it will be a perfect storm for his chances of landing a lucrative long-term deal in L.A. or elsewhere.