NFL Rumors: 3 Teams Vying for Free Agent Wide Receiver Mike Williams

Former Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams may have been a cap casualty last week, but he has no shortage of suitors in free agency. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the seventh overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft has meetings lined up with the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming week.

Williams is coming off an unfortunate ACL tear suffered in the early portion of the 2023 season, which precipitated the Chargers cutting him ahead of the new league year. He was in the final year of a three-year, $60 million contract signed in 2022 and turned 29 in October.

Williams has been an efficient and explosive pass catcher at various points in his career, but injuries have held him to only 16 total games over his last two seasons. His best season preceded his last contract: In 2021, he hauled in 76 passes for 1146 yards and 9 touchdowns for a Chargers offense that scored 27.9 points per game, fifth most in the league.

In the years following his underwhelming rookie season, Williams has averaged an impressive 60.4 receiving yards per game at an excellent 9.6 yards per target. That's production that can help any offense. The Jets, Panthers, and Steelers could all benefit from his long frame (6'4") and contested catch ability.

It's notable that Schefter suggests the Chargers still have interest in Williams. They saved approximately $20 million against the cap by releasing him; the fact that he's on the street suggests he's unlikely to see money like that on his next deal. Still, he could easily flirt with compensation landed by some of the WR2s and WR3s earlier in free agency. His floor should be New England Patriots wide receiver and fellow 2023 ACL tear sufferer Kendrick Bourne's $6.5 million per year deal, but something in the range of Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Gabe Davis' or Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Darnell Mooney's $13 million per year wouldn't be unreasonable, either. 

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