Chargers WR Mike Williams Not Focused on Contract Extension

The Bolts receiver is focused on getting the playbook down.
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While there are questions on the field about whether the Chargers new coaching staff will gel with the players, which it seems they have, there are also questions surrounding certain players like Chargers receiver Mike Williams.

He is entering his fifth season with the team, so is he okay playing out the final year without an extension?

"I'm just out here practicing," said Williams on Monday. "The people upstairs, my agent, and everybody else will handle that."

Has the Chargers brass made any attempt to talk extension with his agent?

"I don't know," said Williams. "I'm not really focused on that."

The philosophy of Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has been to draft players, develop them, and then pay them when the time is right and if they have the cap space.

Williams has been a Charger for four seasons going into his fifth and has grown since his rookie season. He came in with a back injury that slowed him up. Since then, he had 664 yards along with ten touchdowns in his second season. Hit the 1,000-yard mark in his third year and finished 2020 with 756 yards and five touchdowns.

Williams has made a name for himself as the clutch receiver that makes the big catch when it is needed.

Last season, he did it in New Orleans late in the game to give his Bolts an opportunity to win the game on a last-second field goal. He did it in 2019 in Mexico City against the Kansas City Chiefs and a couple of weeks later in Denver when he made a one-handed helmet catch against the Broncos.

Williams is one of the better down-the-field receivers and can come down with almost any pass. Last season, then quarterback Tyrod Taylor called Williams an "80-20" which means that when a quarterback throws it up to Williams there is an 80 percent chance 81 comes down with it.

It seems like in years past, at times, the offense forgot about Williams, or the quarterback wasn't looking his way. There were a lot of games he only had one or two receptions.

New Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi explained how he plans on using Williams and making sure he gets his touches.

"I've been impressed with him mentally so far, getting lined up and knowing what to do," explained Lombardi. "As much as this offense will resemble New Orleans, he plays the 'X,' and the ball has always kind of found the 'X' receiver in this offense. I think that there will be some natural production that comes his way because of the nature of the offense.

"Sometimes when you have a guy like Keenan [Allen] on the other side or on the field with you, the quarterback is so comfortable throwing to him because he is so easy to throw to, with the way that he talks to the quarterback with body language, sometimes that steals throws away from a guy like Mike, but certainly, nothing that an offensive coach is complaining about. We have a lot of good players, and we're going to try to use them all."

So, what does that mean?

Basically, Lombardi sees Williams as the Michael Thomas of the Chargers offense. Thomas has been a big timepiece of the Saints offense, and before last season's injury-riddled year, he consistently had 1,000-yards and almost nine touchdowns a season for four straight years.

So, what is he expecting?

"I see a big role for him," Lombardi added. "If I were a betting man, I'd bet on nice numbers coming from him on the stat sheet, that's for sure."

Williams was asked about playing that role in the offense this season on Monday afternoon and got a smile on his face.

"Michael Thomas caught a lot of balls in this offense," said Williams. "I'm playing the same position, so I'm looking forward to it. Maybe I could do the same things and make a lot of plays in this offense."

This will be a whole new offense in which it will take some concepts from the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers along with some wrinkles that quarterback Justin Herbert and some of the offensive weapons liked from previous seasons.

Fellow receiver Keenan Allen said he liked the new offensive identity two weeks ago when speaking to the media because he felt it gave the players the ability to "play more freely."

"It gives everybody an opportunity to do what they're best at," said Williams. "It gives everyone an opportunity to make plays. That's what we're looking for, as receivers, to make plays, and this offense puts a lot of us in different positions to make plays. We're looking forward to it."

A couple of his offseason goals were getting faster, stronger, and working on every area of his game. He wanted to improve his route running especially and who better to learn from than Allen, who is regarded as one of the best.

"Watching him every day, learn from him," explained Williams. "I'm picking up a lot of things that I can make my game better."

It is also the second season of Herbert, so with how weird the season was last year due to the pandemic, this is really the first chance these guys get to build natural chemistry. While the rookies had their rookie OTA's at the facility a couple of weeks ago, Williams and many of his teammates got together at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

There were videos of Herbert throwing to his receivers and the players organizing these workouts, so everyone is on the same page.

"A lot of throwing after the season," explained Williams. "A lot of routes. Everyone is trying to get this offense down stat. That just comes with reps. We would meet up every morning, throw and run routes. Trying to get that connection down. Everybody is trying to get that connection down, make plays and get the offense running."