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Former 1,000-Yard Receiver Could Be Released In Coming Days

The Los Angeles Chargers could cut wide receiver Mike Williams, but it shouldn't be long before he finds a new team.
Mike Williams Cut

As the start of free agency and the 2024 league year draws closer, the Los Angeles Chargers might have no choice but to cut Mike Williams. This unfortunate development is due in no part to Williams himself, as the former first-round pick is still a good player when on the field. While an ACL injury limited him to just three games, the Chargers wideout still managed to record 19 receptions for 249 yards and one touchdown on 26 targets.

Assuming he’s healthy, Williams can still be a reliable part of a passing attack, but he’s not worth his current contract. As of this posting, the receiver carries a $32.4 million cap hit, and the Chargers can free up $20 million if they cut Mike Williams. Some teams can afford one or two bloated contracts, but the Chargers are not one of them.

According to Spotrac, Los Angeles is currently $44.02 million over the projected 2024 salary cap. This team needs to start pinching pennies, and Mike Williams is one of the most obvious cut candidates out there. While getting rid of him won’t singlehandedly solve their financial woes, it’s a step in the right direction.

5 Teams That Could Sign Mike Williams If Chargers Cut Him

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that this article is not a news piece. As of right now, no reputable sources or reports have indicated that a Mike Williams cut is inevitable. This is strictly an educated guess based on the financial implications of Williams’s contract.

Technically, the Chargers could try to extend Mike Williams, rather than cut him, but they might decide that’s not in their best interest. The former first-round pick is entering his age-30 season, coming off a serious injury, and has a violent play style that probably won’t age too well. Additionally, an extension can only save $15 million in cap space, compared to the $20 million the team could save with a release.

The NFL is a cold business, so there is a good chance the Chargers cut the homegrown Mike Williams. However, just because the money doesn’t work out in Los Angeles doesn’t mean he can’t play anymore. When healthy, Williams is still a reliable outside threat capable of consistently winning contested passes, and that type of player will always have a home in the NFL.

Best Free Agent Fits

Kansas City Chiefs

If the Kansas City Chiefs want to go for the elusive three-peat, they’ll need to upgrade their wide receivers. Travis Kelce looked like his old self in the playoffs, but he was slowing down in the regular season. With the tight end entering his age-35 season, he can’t possibly have much more left in the tank. Rashee Rice showed plenty of promise as a rookie, but he’s not the type of player who can consistently win in contested situations. Mike Williams can give this offense a much-needed red zone threat, and he’ll appreciate the opportunity to face off against the team that cut him twice a year.

Buffalo Bills

Stefon Diggs is getting older, Gabriel Davis is going to be a free agent, and somebody needs to catch the ball for Josh Allen. With Allen’s cap hit skyrocketing, the Bills are going to have to be smart about how they build their team moving forward. It’s hard to predict what kind of contract Mike Williams will receive if the Chargers cut him, but if teams are afraid of his injury history, then the wideout could be a fantastic low-risk, high-reward signing. Williams’ size combined with Allen’s elite downfield throwing ability has the potential to be a lethal combination.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers need to find a wide receiver in the worst way. While Adam Thielen is still a fine player, the rest of the depth chart is in terrible shape. Jonathan Mingo highlights an underwhelming Panthers draft class, Terrace Marshall never lived up to his draft billing, and nobody is going to miss DJ Chark. Mike Williams might be an older cut candidate, but he can still play. Last year, the Panthers took a risk on an over-30 cap casualty, and it proved to be the only good decision they made all year long. History could repeat itself as the Panthers look for ways to support their first-overall pick.

Cleveland Browns

Amari Cooper can still play, but the rest of the wide receiver depth chart leaves something to be desired. The Browns gambled on Elijah Moore bouncing back in Year 3, but the once-promising prospect was one of the least efficient players on a per-target basis. Moore can be a fine depth piece, but he’s not the type of player who should see 100 targets a season. Assuming the Chargers cut him, the Browns could add Mike Williams to handle some perimeter targets and red zone looks.

Baltimore Ravens

The Zay Flowers selection looks like a good one for the Baltimore Ravens, but this team could still use another wide receiver. Flowers is a shifty player who can quickly get open against a variety of coverages, but he’s not a big player capable of winning in close quarters near the red zone. Mike Williams excels at contested passes, and if he’s cut, he’d be a perfect fit for this depth chart. With Flowers, Williams, and tight end Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson will have a reliable target for every part of the field.

Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports

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