This comes a bit after news of Williams sustaining another torn shoulder labrum. Williams was planning to attempt to play through such an injury, as he did in college and with the Chargers on prior occasions, but this IR development may well indicate he will undergo surgery. That will indeed be Williams’ course of action, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
Because the Raiders are not carrying Williams onto their regular-season roster, he will not be eligible to return from IR. That would not matter anyway. This surgery is expected to sideline Williams for around six months. Considering the team’s actions at receiver this offseason, it is certainly possible Williams will be elsewhere in 2021.
The Raiders opted to guarantee Williams’ $11MM base salary this season, but the team proceeded to draft Henry Ruggs in Round 1 and Bryan Edwards in Round 3. The latter has worked as a starter in camp, impressing the team ahead of his rookie season. With a Williams 2021 release set to provide $11.6MM in cap room, it is likely the team will opt for such savings in what could well be the biggest salary cap reduction in NFL history.
Last year, the Raiders brought in Williams to play as the No. 2 wideout alongside Antonio Brown. With Brown’s antics driving him out of Oakland before playing a game, more became expected of Williams. However, he recorded only 42 catches for 651 yards while battling injuries to both feet. With the rookies joining Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow in Las Vegas’ passing attack this year, Williams’ role may have been reduced. Instead, he will rehab ahead of his age-29 season in 2021.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.