Tyrell Williams Rumors: Latest Buzz on Browns, Bills and More Before Free Agency

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 11:  Tyrell Williams #16 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs with the ball after catching a pass against the Oakland Raiders during the first half of their NFL football game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 11, 2018 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With a number of proven receivers already reportedly off the market, things could be working out nicely for Tyrell Williams as he ponders his next move.

Antonio Brown was the biggest domino to fall when Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported the Oakland Raiders acquired him from the Pittsburgh Steelers via trade. A number of smaller moves then came across the line Monday.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Devin Funchess agreed to a one-year, $13 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported the New York Jets will sign Jamison Crowder to a three-year, $28.5 million contract. According to Garafolo and NFL Network colleague Tom Pelissero, Adam Humphries got a four-year, $36 million deal from the Tennessee Titans.

While Williams now has fewer options, the teams still on his radar will be even more desperate to finalize an agreement. The contracts listed above also give some framework for his demands.

On Monday afternoon, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora provided an overview for where things stood for Williams:

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

Tyrell Williams remains, far and set away the best outside WR available on the FA market, and, to many evaluators, the only true starter at that spot. IND, CLE, NYJ, BUF among those linked to him. OAK was very much before landing AB.

The Colts and Jets are likely out of the running based on the business they've already completed. That leaves the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills in the mix, plus any other teams who may enter the fray.

Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reported Monday night the Browns continue to view Williams as a free-agent target.

Breshad Perriman was a pleasant surprise for the Browns, catching 16 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns in two games. He's a free agent, though, and generally has a spotty track record in the NFL. That the Baltimore Ravens released Perriman a little over three years after selecting him in the first round of the draft says everything about how his career has unfolded so far.

Williams would be a clear upgrade for Cleveland's offense. He had 41 receptions for 653 yards and five scores for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018. He finished 32nd among qualified receivers in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement), per Football Outsiders.

The Bills similarly need to add a proven pass-catcher, especially after striking out in the Brown sweepstakes. Before Brown landed in the Bay Area, Buffalo was in negotiations with the Steelers to trade for the seven-time Pro Bowler.

Although Williams is a clear step below Brown, he's a better alternative to Zay Jones and Robert Foster, who are projected to be the Bills' top two receivers in 2019.

Strengthening the passing game is critical toward Josh Allen's development as he approaches his second year, and Williams is one of the best receivers available at this point in the offseason.

According to Over the Cap, the Bills have a little over $70.5 million in salary cap space to spend. They shouldn't spend well above Williams' market value but have the resources to meet what's likely to be his asking price based on the recent contracts offered to free-agent receivers.