The Buccaneers just gave wide receiver Mike Williams a contract extension last week and they may be taking the point of view that an increased salary goes with increased job responsibilities.
Williams is working as a punt returner (and maybe a juggler, judging by the picture at right) during training camp, a role that is a completely new one for him after a career spent exclusively as a receiver. It’s something the team has talked about doing in the past, but they’ve never put it into effect the way they have this summer. It’s also something that Williams has been enjoying because it gives him extra chances with the ball in his hands.
“Yeah, I get the ball in my hands. It’s almost like a 65 or 70 percent chance that I’m going to get the ball on that play,” Williams said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “So I like that. [Coaches] have been telling me I’ve been catching the punts real good. I didn’t do it in college or high school. I guess they see something in me that they want to bring out.”
It’s a bit odd to give a player $15 million in guaranteed money and then ask them to do something completely new that could wind up cutting into his ability to thrive at the position you thought he played well enough to get that money in the first place, but there’s not much risk in seeing how Williams might have a knack for the role that’s gone unnoticed to this point in his career. If he does, that’s a bonus although it would always be of secondary importance to his role on offense.