Ever since landing on IR during the 2013 season, wideout Mike Williams did about all he could to alienate himself from Buccaneers leadership. The new regime was not fond of his off-field issues and they finally shipped him out of town on Friday, sending him to the Bills for a sixth-round pick.
James Walker of ESPN first reported the trade, which reunites Williams with his old coach at Syracuse, Doug Marrone.
Marrone was actually asked about Williams during the AFC coaches breakfast at the 2014 NFL owners meetings and said he has "a lot of respect for Mike." Williams ended up quitting the Syracuse football team after being suspended for academic reasons.
"I've always had a lot of respect for Mike," Marrone said during the AFC coaches' breakfast. "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."
Williams is an interesting fit with the Bills. They have a ton of speed on the roster already -- Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham both have afterburners -- and Williams is fast. But he's also a very big target for EJ Manuel, provided that he ends up on the final roster.
A sixth-round pick isn't exactly the most prohibitive of costs. It's something for the Bucs though. Lovie Smith was clearly fed up with Williams off-field issues (his neighbors were complaining about his behavior) and that was before he got stabbed while the owners' meetings were going on.
It's impressive that Tampa GM Jason Licht was able to get anything for Williams at all.
Williams has gone over the 950-yard barrier twice in his young career already. Once as a rookie with the Bucs and again in 2012, which netted him a large deal from Tampa. Because of the structure of that deal, however, there's no cap charge for dealing Williams (as noted by Pro Football Talk).
There are some interesting implications in the draft too. The Bucs look like a pretty good bet to take a pass-catching threat at No. 7. Wideout Mike Evans of Texas A&M or tight end Eric Ebron out of UNC would both make a lot of sense for Tampa Bay.
The Bills are much less likely to go with a wideout than before, assuming they believe Williams can pan out.