ProFootballTalk Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams has had a run of bad headlines associated with his name over the last few months and it appears he’ll be heading home to Buffalo to see if he can put his career back on the right track. James Walker of ESPN.com reports that the Bills have sent a sixth-round pick to the Buccaneers in exchange for Williams’ services. PFT has confirmed the trade pending Williams’ physical with the Bills. Williams grew up in Buffalo and stayed in upstate New York to attend college at Syracuse University. Williams played for Bills head coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse until Williams left the team during the 2009 season, Marrone’s first at the school. Williams’ 2013 season came to an end in October because of a hamstring injury, but he kept finding his way into the news because of an arrest, lawsuits stemming from his conduct at a rental home and a stab wound in the thigh that was the result of an attack by his brother. The first two things led new Bucs coach Lovie Smith to say that Williams’ pattern of behavior was disturbing, the first sign that a parting of the ways might be in the cards for a player who signed a six-year extension with Tampa before last season. There’s no cap charge for the Bucs in the trade as Williams had no signing bonus in that deal. He has a salary of $1.8 million for the coming season. The Bills had Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods at receiver before making a move for Williams and they were reportedly interested in DeSean Jackson before Jackson signed with Washington. There’s been some question about whether Johnson remains in the team’s plans after a rough 2013 season, although the Bills have said that they are excited about his future in Buffalo.
I love this move for the Buffalo Bills, who know they need to upgrade the weapons in the passing game for quarterback EJ Manuel, and bringing talented but troubled wide receiver Mike Williams back to Buffalo for just a sixth round pick seems like an excellent start. Williams had had his share of off field incidents, including being suspended from and then leaving Syracuse University and recently getting stabbed in the leg by his own brother, but he also has 215 catches for 2,947 yards and 25 touchdowns in just four NFL seasons. He played for Bills head coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse, and Marrone stood by Williams when he was suspended by the university, they hacs a great relationship and if anyone can get Williams to turn his life off the field around it will be Marrone. The fact that Marrone was willing to trade for a troubled player like Williams shows that he believes in him on and off the field and that he has faith that Williams can turn his image around in Buffalo.
NOTE: I have predicted in my 2014 NFL Mock Draft that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Sammy Watkins, and this trade strengthens that possibility, because after Vincent Jackson the Bucs do not have a reliable pass catcher on offense.