The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have traded wide receiver Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, according to reports.
Williams, a fourth-round selection of the Bucs during the 2010 NFL Draft, was a finalist for the NFL Rookie of the Year after leading all rookie wideouts with yardage (964), receptions (65), and touchdowns (11). After Williams took a step back in his sophomore campaign, he set a new career-high with 996 yards in 2012.
Injury cost Williams most of the 2013 season, but he still managed to make headlines. Williams was reportedly stabbed in the thigh by his brother two weeks ago, which first-year Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith called a “pattern of behavior” by the wide receiver. Williams also faces charges of trespassing and criminal mischief stemming from an incident back in December. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Williams’ home in Tampa was a frequent source of 911 calls because of loud parties. Williams resolved the issue by agreeing to pay more than $43,000 in damages and acknowledged he refused to abide by the terms of his lease.
On Thursday, Williams’ name resurfaced in the headlines after the Tampa Bay Times reported he was being sued by an insurance company for the damages to his property.
The fact that Williams was traded after this apparent third strike should not come as a surprise to anyone. Smith is a no-nonsense type of head coach from the Tony Dungy coaching tree. Sending him off to Buffalo is a positive for the wide receiver, who played under Bills coach Doug Marrone when the two were both at Syracuse. Williams also grew up in Buffalo.
The off-the-field fit is good, as Williams clearly needed to get out of Tampa, and in Western New York can essentially hit the restart button and get mentorship from his college coach. It also makes sense on the field.
The Bills are looking to supply second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel with more weapons in the receiving game, and Williams — when healthy — is a top-tier wideout. He joins a receiving corps that features Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods.
Trading off Williams justifies the Bucs’ latest first-round pick in the XN Sports NFL Mock 2.0, in which the team is projected to nab Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans. Vincent Jackson is the only proven wide receiver on the Bucs roster, as the team aims to provide new quarterback Josh McCown with weapons to replicate the receiver tandem of Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall like he worked with last year in Chicago.