Detroit Lions begin WR makeover by signing Tyrell Williams, more moves to come

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

With their wide receiving corps on the verge of being torn apart by free agency, the Detroit Lions made a move to bolster the position Wednesday, signing Tyrell Williams to a one-year deal according to ESPN.

The deal is reportedly worth $6.2 million.

Williams, 29, missed the 2020 season for the Las Vegas Raiders with a torn shoulder labrum but played two seasons for new Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn with the Los Angeles Chargers.

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He was released last week, after two seasons in Las Vegas.

Williams immediately becomes the most veteran player in a Lions receiving corps that is expected to lose at least two starters to free agency, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola.

Kenny Golladay also is a free agent, and the Lions may need to use the franchise tag to keep him off the free agent market, though general manager Brad Holmes insisted Tuesday “there’s some decisions that still have to be made” about Golladay’s future.

Williams caught 84 passes for 1,381 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons under Lynn. He has ideal size at 6 feet 4 and 204 pounds — the same height as Golladay — and has been an effective deep threat throughout his career, averaging 16.1 yards per catch.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday that the team would lean towards signing familiar faces in free agency.

“If I’m being completely transparent with you, I think, yeah, that’s a pretty accurate assessment or something I would say would be pretty much in line,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that they are all going to be from one team. So, if there’s some guys out there that are from other teams that we have history with, this coaching staff has history with, our personnel department, our GM, our assistant GM has history with that we know and we trust and are our type of guys, yeah, I would say that would be pretty intriguing.”

Though Williams is five years removed from his career-best 69-catch, 1,059-yard season in 2016, before Lynn took over as Chargers coach, he should play a significant role on offense for the Lions this fall.

Quintez Cephus is the only other receiver currently under contract who caught a pass in 2020, though the Lions are expected to add multiple other receivers through free agency and/or the draft.

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Holmes said Tuesday he hoped to remake the unit in a fashion similar to what the Los Angeles Rams did in 2017, when they drafted two receivers in the middle rounds, signed a third in free agency and added a fourth by trade.

Along with Cephus and Williams, receivers Tom Kennedy and Victor Bolden are under for 2021, and Geronimo Allison’s one-year contract will toll after he opted out of the 2020 season.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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