The Los Angeles Chargers have filed paperwork to pick up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Mike Williams, according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. The move secures Williams' rights through the 2021 season.
The fifth-year option does not guarantee Williams will remain with the Chargers past 2020. However, the team can make that determination next offseason while only guaranteeing the wideout's 2021 salary for injury. If Williams performs at a high level in the upcoming season, Los Angeles could also pursue an extension, likely at a more affordable rate.
A first-round pick from 2017, Mike Williams' career began somewhat inauspiciously. A herniated disc in his lower back prevented him from taking part in organized-team activities and training camp as a rookie. Williams would not make his professional debut until Week 6 and would catch just 11 passes for 95 yards over the course of the season.
Williams' health improved during his second year in the NFL, and his productivity spiked accordingly. He appeared in all 16 games and recorded 10 touchdowns, most of any receiver on the Chargers, as well as 644 receiving yards. Williams also improved his catch rate to north of 65%.
That season set Williams up for a more well-rounded 2019 campaign. While he only reached the end zone twice, the wideout led the NFL in yards per reception among qualified players (20.4) and registered his first career 1,000-yard season. He accomplished those feats while dealing with lingering knee issues throughout the year. That progress contributed to the Chargers' decision to accept his fifth-year option.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH