Depending on how things shake out between now and the start of free agency on March 13, the Cleveland Browns may be in the market for a wide receiver.
General manager John Dorsey still has to decide if the team wants to keep Rashard Higgins (they should) and Breshad Perriman (maybe), as well as deal with the pleasant fantasy of trading for New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (unlikely).
But if Dorsey decides to use some of the Browns $78 million-plus in cap space (per spotrac.com) on a wide receiver, he may find his gaze landing on Tyrell Williams, who spent the past four seasons with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers.
Originally an undrafted free agent out of Western Oregon, Williams played 52 games for the Chargers, making 37 starts. During that time he posted 155 receptions for 2,530 yards, 17 touchdowns and averaged 16.3 yards per catch.
While he has not been the first option the past two seasons, the one year he was a full-time starter (2016 when wide receiver Keenan Allen missed the season with an injury), Williams stepped up with 69 receptions for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns.
If the Browns truly are interested in adding more weapons for quarterback Baker Mayfield, Williams looks to be a better option than retaining Perriman, according to ESPN’s Bill Barnwell:
Cleveland already handed Jarvis Landry a five-year, $75.5 million deal, but with nearly $79 million in cap space, it can afford a luxury weapon for Baker Mayfield. Tyrell Williams’ downfield ability would be a great contrast to Landry and give the Browns a better deep threat than free agent Breshad Perriman.
The Chargers reportedly would like to keep Williams, but are lacking cap space (an estimated $29 million, per spotrac.com) and have several other free agents ahead of Williams.
Still, it is fair to wonder why, given his production, the Chargers felt the need to select wide receiver Mike Williams with the No. 7 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft when they already had Tyrell Williams on the roster.
Williams is not lacking for confidence and is always looking to improve his game, two things that should appeal to any team, as he told ESPN’s Eric D. Williams shortly after the end of the season:
“I definitely feel like I’m a No. 1 receiver. So I want to make sure that I clean up all of the little things in route running and blocking, to make sure I solidify myself as a No. 1. I try to always be critical with myself, just seeing stuff I want to get better at. I try to get better at everything. But I also try to pick out some specific things to focus on in the offseason, so I think that’s been huge for me.”
As the Browns look to turn up the heat on opposing offenses, adding a playmaker like Williams could make a lot of sense.