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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Mike Williams, Bucs agree to huge contract extension

Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams runs for a third-quarter touchdown against the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium.

CHRIS ZUPPA | Times (2012)

Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams runs for a third-quarter touchdown against the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James Stadium.



Mike Williams could be a Buc for life.

The talented young receiver and the Bucs have agreed to a six-year contract extension that the club said is worth $40.25 million, a big reward for a home-grown player who has consistently produced. Of that sum, $15 million is guaranteed, mostly through base salaries and roster bonuses.

Players reported for training camp this morning, and signing Williams to his extension wraps up the team’s most significant piece of outstanding business before getting back to football. It also eliminates any chance of a distraction for Williams.

"I'm relieved," Williams said. "It was in the back of everybody's mind. Everybody kept bringing it up. If I dropped a pass (people would ask), am I thinking about that? I just want to go out and play, and now that's what I can do."

The Bucs and Williams’ agent have been in discussions for more than a year, general manager Mark Dominik said, aiming to strike a deal that would prevent Williams from becoming a free agent next spring.

“I’m excited for Mike, I’m excited for our football team and I’m excited for our community, because he’s a big part of why we’re building an explosive offense,” Dominik said. “Mike just finished his third season and is already in our top 10 as far as scoring touchdowns.”

Despite the long process, doing the deal means the Bucs made good on a promise to commit to in-house players who deserve new deals.

The Bucs have awarded huge contracts to several outside acquisitions in the past two years – specifically Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Dashon Goldson and Darrelle Revis – but Williams could be the first of several players drafted by the team to receive extensions.

The 26-year old Williams was the Bucs’ fourth-round draft choice in 2010, passed up by many because of character concerns. But Williams has been a mainstay for the Bucs, starting 47 games and recording 193 receptions for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons. He ranks behind only the Cowboys first-round choice Dez Bryant in receiver production from the 2010 draft class.

Jackson’s arrival allowed Williams to thrive in 2012, when he caught 63 passes for 996 yards.



[Last modified: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 2:09pm]


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