Although Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams signed a five-year contract worth just under $40MM last season, his status with the team is far from certain, according to Tom Carpenter of ESPN.com. After tearing his hamstring halfway through the 2013 campaign, Williams accumulated over $200K in fines for being late to team meetings, missing team meetings altogether, and missing his scheduled rehab days, problems exacerbated by the “constant partying” that Williams documented on his Instagram account.
Carpenter writes that Williams’ behavior did not come as much of a surprise to former GM Mark Dominik. Dominik structured Williams’ new deal so that the team would have an “out” in 2014 if it needed one. As Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report observes, Williams’ deal includes a base salary of just $1.2MM in 2014. That way, if the wideout’s maturity became too much of an issue, or if his 2013 performance did not merit the length of the contract or the financial commitment, the team could release him this offseason and suffer just a $1.8MM cap hit in 2014.
However, new head coach Lovie Smith would probably like to have someone with Williams’ potential on board, particularly since his cap hit this year is so low. Since Williams’ contract is no longer guaranteed after 2014, the Bucs can simply go in a different direction if Williams doesn’t live up to that potential.
A couple of other Bucs tidbits:
- For his part, ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas seems to think Williams will be back with Tampa Bay next year. In response to a reader’s question as to whether the Bucs will draft a receiver in the early rounds of the 2014 draft, Yasinskas said he thinks that the team has greater needs in other areas but that Tampa Bay would do well to target a speed receiver in the middle rounds of the draft or in free agency to complement Williams and fellow wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
- In what is becoming an increasingly-popular question from fans around the league, another reader asks Yasinskas if the Buccaneers will trade up in the draft to nab South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Yasinskas replied that the Bucs would only make such a move if the team is comfortable with Mike Glennon as their quarterback. If so, and if the Bucs therefore don’t believe they need to take a QB in the first round, Yaskinsas thinks the defensive-minded Smith may push for the elite pass rusher.