Hours after introducing new star receiver Antonio Brown, the Raiders signed a tall, deep-play threat who could complement Brown in the passing game next season.
Tyrell Williams, who played the last four seasons with the Chargers, signed a free-agent deal with the Raiders late Wednesday. ESPN reported Williams signed a four-year contract worth $44 million with $22 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $47 million.
It continued an upgrade of the Raiders’ receiver group that began with their acquiring Brown, the four-time first-team All Pro, from the Steelers for a 2019 third- and fifth-round draft pick.
The Raiders finished last season with a receiver group led by Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts and rookie Marcell Ateman. They now have a top three of Brown, Williams and Nelson.
At a news conference to introduce Brown on Wednesday, head coach Jon Gruden said that he wants “to have the best receiving corps in football.”
“I don’t see why we couldn’t be,” Williams, 27, said Wednesday night. “Obviously, it’s going to take some time to get used to each other and get the offense down. But I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be the best receivers group in the league.”
Williams, 27, is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds who set career-highs of 69 catches and 1,059 receiving yards in 2016. He has averaged 16.3 yards per catch in his career and leads the NFL with four touchdown catches of 75-plus yards since entering the league in 2015.
“I feel like I’m a guy that can take the top off at any time,” Williams said. “That’s really what I want to bring is being able to stretch the field and allow guys to have more stuff underneath. Obviously, that opens up the play-action a lot. But I also can do a lot of stuff underneath with my quickness and running routes.”
Brown figures to be the No. 1 target for quarterback Derek Carr next season – the 30-year-old has eclipsed 100 catches and 1,200 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons and caught a career-high 15 touchdowns last season. Nelson, who turns 34 in May, led Raiders receivers last season with 63 catches for 739 yards.
Williams said he had no reservations about signing with a team that already had a clear-cut No. 1 receiver – in fact, he said, the opportunity to join with Brown was a motivating factor.
“Seeing AB come here, and seeing the things they were doing on the offensive side of the ball, it was just exciting,” Williams said. “And Derek’s an awesome quarterback.