Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Williams, Bucs agree to contract extension

TAMPA

Thirteen receivers were taken ahead of Mike Williams before the Bucs selected him in the fourth round, 101st overall, in the 2010 draft.

He wasn't even the first wideout nabbed by the Bucs. That was second-round choice Arrelious Benn, who struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness, and was traded to the Eagles for a couple of low-round selections in March.

"That was one of the chips on my shoulder, too, all the receivers that were taken ahead of me," Williams said, "saying they were better than me, ran routes better than me. It's always going to be on my shoulder."

Shortly after the Bucs reported to training camp Wednesday, Williams pushed all those shoulder chips to the middle of the table and cashed in with a six-year, $40.25 million contract extension with $15 million guaranteed.

The deal was not only a reward for what Williams, 26, has accomplished — his 193 receptions for 2,731 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons ranks behind only Cowboys first-round choice Dez Bryant in receiver production from the 2010 draft class — the Bucs were happy to pay it forward because he was entering the final year of his rookie contract.

"I think Mike is a unique player," general manager Mark Dominik said. "I think he's got one of the best body controls in the National Football League. I think it's innate, it's a rare trait, and I'm happy he's part of this team."

In 2010 Williams led all rookies with 65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. But the 2011 lockout had an effect on his preparation and production. He caught 65 passes in 2011 but averaged fewer than 12 yards per reception and had only three touchdowns.

"Three touchdowns," Williams said, shaking his head Wednesday. "That wasn't me."

The Bucs recognized Williams isn't a typical No. 1 receiver. He lacks the speed to consistently beat double teams and get vertical with a safety over top. So they signed receiver Vincent Jackson, 30, to a five-year, $55.5 million deal last year.

Jackson had a career season in 2012 (72 catches, 1,384 yards, eight TDs) while leading the league with a 19.2-yard average, and he had a profound effect on the impressionable Williams.

"Having Vincent Jackson on my team, always having someone to look up to, having someone to watch … (work) to the level he works, I can only keep getting better," Williams said.

Williams bears blame for falling in the draft. At Syracuse, he was suspended in 2008 for academic reasons, and depending on to whom you talk, Williams either quit or was kicked off the team for the final three games of his senior year.

However, nobody ever doubted Williams' devotion to the game.

"The way he plays and practices the game is really important to me," coach Greg Schiano said. "We are looking for guys that are going to do things the right way and love the game of football, not likes it. And this guy right here, he loves it."

Williams' deal puts him in elite company. Giants Pro Bowl receiver Victor Cruz signed a six-year, $45.8 million deal this month with $15.6 million guaranteed. He caught 168 passes for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns in the past two seasons.

Dominik didn't seem worried the Bucs have nearly $100 million invested in salary for starting receivers. Neither did Schiano.

"They're my two, and I love them," Schiano said. "I wouldn't trade them for anybody, if that says anything."

   
Comments
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18