ESPN's James Walker reports that the Buffalo Bills have acquired Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams for a sixth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The trade will not be completed until Williams passes a physical.
Williams, a Buffalo native, will turn 27 this May. In trading for him, the Bills take on the remainder of the six-year, $40.25 million contract (with $9.4 million guaranteed) that Williams signed with the Buccaneers last summer, barring some sort of restructure. His cap number, however, drops significantly this year; the Bucs paid him $8.2 million last year, but his cap hit will only be $1.8 million in 2014.
The move also reunites Williams with head coach Doug Marrone; the two worked together for part of a year at Syracuse, until a misunderstanding between the two led to Marrone announcing that Williams had left the program. Marrone was asked about Williams just a couple of weeks ago at league meetings, following the news that Williams had been stabbed in the leg by his brother, the latest in a long series of off-field concerns.
"I've always had a lot of respect for Mike," Marrone said of Williams via ESPN's Pat Yasinskas. "I thought Mike was a heck of a football player. We had a lot of conversations. There were a lot of good things that were going on. I got a lot of calls before the draft and I told those guys that Mike would do well. We've been disconnected obviously from when he left to his time in Tampa. But I liked Mike. I really did. I wish him well. Yesterday, I talked to [Tampa Bay general manager] Jason [Licht] just to see if he was OK. Obviously, I care about Mike."
The following spring after his dismissal from Syracuse, Williams became a fourth-round pick of the Buccaneers. In his four seasons with the Buccaneers, Williams appeared in 54 games (missing 10 starts due to injury in 2013), accumulating 215 receptions, 2,947 yards and 25 touchdowns in that time frame. The highly talented 6'2", 212-pound receiver will now slot into a receiving rotation that already features Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham at the top of the rotation.
Time will tell if the second time is the charm for the Williams-Marrone relationship, and whether or not a fresh start will clean up Williams' off-field concerns.