Buccaneers trade troubled WR Mike Williams to Bills

Mike Williams had 215 catches for 2,947 yards in four seasons with the Bucs.

 

Rob Foldy

TAMPA, Fla. — Mike Williams is on his way to the Buffalo Bills.

Tampa Bay traded the four-year wide receiver to the Bills for a sixth-round pick, the team announced Friday.

”We thank Mike for his contributions to the Buccaneers over the last four seasons. At this time, we felt this was best for both sides and we wish Mike well going forward,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement.

According to FOX Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo, the Bills are taking on Williams’ current contract. Williams is due $1.8 million this year.

Williams, a 26-year-old Buffalo native, will be led by his former coach at Syracuse, Doug Marrone. Williams, a former fourth-round pick, signed a six-year, $40.25 million contract last July, but little went right from there. He played in just six games last season and had 22 catches for 216 yards with two touchdowns before be was placed on injured reserve with a torn right hamstring.

This offseason, Williams confronted a number of off-the-field issues. He faced misdemeanor charges of trespassing and criminal mischief stemming from a December event in which he allegedly did about $200 worth of damage to a front door. On March 23, his brother, Eric Baylor, allegedly stabbed him in the left thigh and was booked on a felony charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Shortly after the alleged stabbing incident, Bucs coach Lovie Smith said Williams was a victim in the encounter. But by then, the team’s patience with the 6-foot-2, 212-pound receiver had grown thin. Bucs general manager Jason Licht said repeatedly that he wanted Williams to stay out of the headlines.

Williams’ absence means the Bucs will likely target an elite wide receiver prospect with their seventh pick in next month’s draft, perhaps Clemson’s Sammy Watkins.

Williams finishes his Bucs career with 215 catches for 2,947 yards as the team’s No. 2 wide receiver behind Vincent Jackson. His best season came in 2012, when he had 63 catches for 996 yards and nine touchdowns.

You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.