Following reports on Monday indicated that the Bills were allowing disgruntled receiver Mike Williams to seek a trade, the 27-year-old pass-catcher has spoken out on the issue, denying that he wants out of Buffalo. “No,” Williams told reporters, including Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, when asked if he wanted to be traded. “I always want to be [here]. This is my hometown. This is someplace I always wanted to be.”
Bills general manager Doug Whaley said on Monday that Williams’ agent, Hadley Engelhard, had requested clearance to find trade partners for Williams, who was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Even as the story broke, two factors served to make a deal unlikely. First, as our Zach Links noted two days ago, Williams’ $5.2MM base salary for 2015 is guaranteed; additionally, he is due a $1MM roster bonus early in the league year. It’s an extremely generous sum of money for a mid-tier wideout, especially given the second reason a trade was unlikely from the get-go — Williams hasn’t been very good recently. The Syracuse product has either been injured or ineffective for much of the past two seasons, and was dealt by the Buccaneers after a multitude of off-the-field issues.
For his part, Williams indicates that the idea of a trade was conceived by Engelhard. “[Engelhard] was trying to see other options, but then it got public and everybody found out and everybody started going crazy,” said Williams. “So I had to tell him, like, I don’t want to be traded…[A]t the end of the day, you’ve got to tell him, like, I’m the boss and I want to be here” (Twitter link via Joe Buscaglia of WGR 550).
Bills head coach Doug Marrone isn’t pleased with the recent turn of events, Rodak writes in a separate piece. “Yeah, I mean I’m not gonna lie. Absolutely,” Marrone responded when asked if he was perturbed by the story. “Someone else’s problems all of the sudden become my problems.” Williams’ teammates, conversely, seemed supportive. “Anything that has to do with leading, he’s our leader and I think it would hurt all of us,” rookie receiver Sammy Watkins said of the possibility of Williams being dealt. “I won’t even lie to you, it would hurt everybody that’s in our room.”
It’s just my opinion, but I find it difficult to imagine that even receiver-needy teams like the Jets or Giants would give up anything of value for a player like Williams. With his salary guarantees and his subpar performance, it simply doesn’t make sense for any club to bring him in. Ultimately, if the Bills truly want to rid themselves of Williams, they’ll probably have to simply release him, and go forward with his dead money on their books.