Player Spotlights

Contract Watch: Tourek Williams


The Chargers have several key players entering contract years, a list that includes Keenan Allen, Melvin Ingram and Manti Te’o. Those A-listers will enter negotiations with the team sometime between now and training camp, but they are not the only ones in pursuit of a second contract.

Tourek Williams, a 2013 sixth-round pick out of Florida International, is also in the final season of his rookie deal. He is flying under the radar after missing all of the 2015 season with a pectoral injury, but those who watched his ascension last offseason realize he has the chance to be a foundational player in a suddenly fierce-looking defensive front seven.

Williams (6’4”, 262 lbs.) is not a box-score standout. In 28 career games (six starts) he has just 27 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. However, what he lacks in flash he makes up for in substance.

A fierce run defender who can set the edge and eat up ground quickly when chasing down ball carriers, Williams may be the second coming of Jarret Johnson. His aggressiveness and big hits — rather moving laterally or shooting the B gap — are just what San Diego’s No. 27-ranked run defense needs.

Williams is not a household name yet, but he was trending that direction last offseason before tearing his pectoral muscle in a preseason win over Dallas.

This is what Williams told prior to last offseason’s OTAs: “I changed my whole mindset. From the way I eat and the way I do everything, every single thing was about football. This is my first offseason where I really did that, where everything was about football.

“It was mainly football before, but I let other distractions distract me at times. As a result, I wasn’t as into the playbook as I should have been. Now I know the playbook and I know everything. That is a huge plus because I’m going to be able to play faster.”

The Chargers coaching staff took notice. Williams reported to training camp in the best shape of his career and earned praise from head coach Mike McCoy.

At the NFL Combine, six months after Williams’ injury, he was still on McCoy’s mind.

“I am really looking forward to getting Tourek Williams back,” McCoy said in a fan chat from Indianapolis. “He was having an outstanding training camp and preseason until he got hurt.”

Williams is back now, joining his teammates for workouts at Chargers Park. While he looks like the same player who turned heads last offseason, the group around him is markedly different. The Chargers signed Brandon Mebane as a free agent; drafted Joey Bosa, Joshua Perry and Jatavis Brown; and added CFL standout Dexter McCoil.

Suddenly, a defensive front seven that was pushed around for much of last season looks like a team strength. While the influx of new names is getting most of the credit for this newfound buzz, the return of Williams is just as critical.

The Chargers may wait to address Williams’ contract until after the 2016 season. Ingram and Allen are considered the top priorities for extensions, and the team would like to see Williams translate his success to the field for 16 games before making a commitment.

Just know this: Williams is a player on the rise. And, come next offseason, his price tag may be double what it is today.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *