Chargers Release WR Mike Williams

Needing to clear $27MM-plus off their cap to reach compliance by the 3pm CT today, the Chargers will part with one of their starting wide receivers. They are releasing Mike Williams,’s Ian Rapoport reports.

Dangling Williams and their other three monster cap charges — Keenan Allen, Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa — in trades, the Chargers will clear $20MM by cutting Williams. The 2017 top-10 pick stands to become an interesting free agent, even coming off an ACL tear. The Bolts have since announced the move.

[RELATED: Latest On Chargers’ Trade Efforts]

Williams, 29, was set to carry a $32MM cap hit. The Bolts came into Wednesday with four of the NFL’s top 12 cap figures, with the above-referenced quartet all tied to numbers north of $32MM. It remains to be seen if one of the other high-profile Bolts will be jettisoned — via trade or release — but Williams is the first to go. While Rapoport adds that the Chargers would want to re-sign Williams, the high-end WR2 plans to test free agency.

One season remained on Williams’ three-year, $60MM deal. The then-Tom Teleseco-run Chargers gave Williams that contract just before free agency in 2022, and while the deal was finalized just before the Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill extensions changed the market, Williams battled injuries over the course of the pact. While Williams is coming off an ACL tear and going into his age-30 season, he has two 1,000-yard campaigns on his resume. The Clemson product has excelled as a deep threat and in the midrange, working as a key option during Justin Herbert‘s early years.

Williams cleared 1,000 yards in Philip Rivers‘ final Chargers season (2019, leading the NFL with 20.4 yards per catch) and then posted a career-high 1,146 yards to help Herbert become the 2021 Pro Bowl starter. Williams injuries wounded the Chargers over the past two years. Sustaining a back fracture during a meaningless Week 18 game in Denver, Williams could not suit up for the upcoming wild-card game in Jacksonville. The depleted Chargers’ offense struggled, and the Jaguars completed a 27-point comeback. The 6-foot-4 target also battled a high ankle sprain in 2022. Williams’ ACL tear three games into last season hurt the Bolts’ passing attack again, and ownership ousted the Telesco-Brandon Staley operation months later.

A number of teams still need receiver help. While this draft class will present yet another array of options, teams will be looking into the veteran now that he is a free agent. The WR-deficient Chiefs are quite familiar with Williams, and after missing on Darnell Mooney, would the defending champs dive in here? Williams will not command a $20MM-AAV deal coming off his knee injury, but seeing as teams to not make a habit of cutting two-time 1,000-yard receivers in their 20s, a few clubs figure to be interested in seeing what it will take to add the seven-year vet.

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