| The Detroit News
Desperately needing talent and depth at wide receiver, the Detroit Lions are adding a veteran option to the roster ahead of free agency, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with Tyrell Williams, according to an ESPN report.
Williams, who was released by the Las Vegas Raiders last month, missed the 2020 season with a shoulder injury. In 2019, he appeared in 14 games, catching 42 passes for 651 yards and a touchdown.
The Raiders signed Williams to a four-year, $44 million contract in free agency ahead of that season. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder had spent the previous four seasons with the Chargers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Western Oregon in 2015.
After barely seeing the field as a rookie, Williams had his most productive season in 2016, hauling in 69 passes for 1,059 yards and seven scores.
In Detroit, Williams will reconnect with offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, who was the receiver’s head coach with the Chargers. In a video call on Tuesday, Lions coach Dan Campbell acknowledged the value of familiarity when considering offseason additions.
“Well, look, 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 (with our thinking),” Campbell said. “(General manager) Brad (Holmes) and I talk about this all the time, it’s not even so much what you think they can do, it’s you know what their downside is. That’s different than anything else. In free agency, you don’t always know what all the warts are. You do when you’ve been with these guys, and sometimes you’re harder on your own guys when you’re around them longer.”
Before adding Williams, the Lions only had one receiver under contract who saw snaps with the team last season, Quintez Cephus, who had 20 receptions as a rookie.
The team’s three leading receivers from a year ago — Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola — are all scheduled to be free agents. Jones and Amendola are expected to depart, while there’s still a chance the Lions bring back Golladay, whether via the franchise tag or a long-term contract.
The team has until March 9 to decide whether to utilize the franchise tag on Golladay. That one-year contract that would pay him about $16 million. It also would afford the Lions the opportunity to shop him in a trade for draft assets, facilitating the team’s rebuild.
Holmes said Detroit still is weighing all options on that front.
“We want to make the best decision for the Lions, and sometimes those decisions take a little bit longer,” general manager Brad Holmes said during a Tuesday video conference. “The great thing is we have a process in place that we believe in, that we’ve been firm in, and when we really start the planning stages of the process, that process can go all the way up to when you have to make the decision.”