The Facts: Williams had a disappointing first season with the Raiders. The veteran wide receiver would be the first to admit that. But that no longer mattered Wednesday, when his $11 million base salary in 2020 became fully guaranteed regardless of current physical health. The Raiders will employ Williams for a second season, with the belief he will rebound from his first significant injury in five professional seasons.
Diehards Line: His 2019 campaign was hindered by a severe bout of plantar fasciitis that bothered him from Week 2 forward. He had 42 catches for 651 yards and six touchdowns in 2019, a less-than-spectacular sum due in large part to his ailing feet. The injury was a setback for the Raiders especially after Antonio Brown went nuclear and was cut just before the regular season started. Williams missed some three weeks -- two games and a bye -- after Week 4 but continued to play through pain until season’s end. He wasn’t himself, losing speed from his long strides and agility to make contested catches. Still, the Raiders are optimistic, something HC John Gruden expressed in his postseason press conference. “We have to go back and I watch him in training camp and Week 1 when he was healthy against Denver, and he’s a talented guy,” Gruden said on Dec. 30, 2019. “But it’s hard to play when your feet are on fire and his feet were hurting bad. It’s a credit to him to play through it, but we need to get him healthy. ... We think he’s an excellent football player, he’s just got to get right.” Williams can be a productive player when right. He proved that in 2016, when he had 69 catches for 1,059 yards as the then San Diego Chargers’ primary receiver. He can be an awesome No. 2 receiver able to make catches down the field and on intermediate routes using deceptive speed. He has also averaged 16.2 yards per reception, and the Raiders need someone who can consistently take yards in chunks. But the Raiders still need a true No. 1, something they'll need to work on this offseason.