Updates from Monday, April 7
Mike Rodak of ESPN has the latest on Mike Williams' move to Buffalo:
Doug Marrone and Mike Williams are reunited.
On Friday, the Buffalo Bills traded for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' wide receiver. The Bucs confirmed the reports on Friday afternoon, per team writer Scott Smith:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rapidly-evolving depth chart will have another new starter in 2014. On Friday, the Buccaneers traded wide receiver Mike Williams to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, pending Williams passing a physical.
“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,” said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht.
James Walker of ESPN first reported the news:
Williams played for Marrone at Syracuse, but was suspended for academic reasons and ultimately quit the team in 2009. He has also most recently been in the news after being stabbed in the thigh. He was hospitalized and released shortly thereafter.
Marrone talked to the Bills' official site about his past with Williams:
Williams played his college ball at Syracuse, but left the team prior to the 2009 season knowing he’d be facing a suspension after breaking a curfew with three other teammates. There were other off the field transgressions as well, and so Williams never played for Marrone, whose first season as head coach of the Orange was in 2009. As far as Marrone is concerned, the past is in the past. He’s giving Williams a clean slate with the Bills.
“With regard to our time at Syracuse, I feel that is in the past for both of us,” said Marrone. ”Mike has an opportunity to get a fresh start to his career here in his hometown and regain his form as a productive player in the National Football League. We look forward to getting Mike into the facility and start our work preparing for the 2014 season once the players are free to report on April 22.”
As for what Marrone feels Williams can add to the Bills passing attack, Buffalo’s sideline boss likes his stature and athletic ability.
“Mike Williams is a competitive, tough wide receiver who has the size and athleticism to add competition to our receiver position group,” said Marrone. “We feel Mike is a player who has the ability to help our team improve.”
I've always had a lot of respect for Mike. 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.
Perhaps the second time will be the charm for Marrone and Williams.
And perhaps what was a bit of a weak point for this Buffalo offense a year ago, the wide receiver position, is now becoming a strength, as Ian Kenyon of Bleacher Report tweets:
If nothing else, it would appear to be a savvy piece of business by the Bills, as Pro Football Talk notes:
Adds Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports:
And the Bills were ultimately able to get him on the cheap, at least compared to what the Bucs wanted for him, as Adam Caplan of ESPN states:
Williams played in just six games last season, catching 22 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. But twice in his career he's reached at least 900 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, so the potential for big things is certainly there.
And perhaps with a familiar coach in place, he'll thrive. The Bills are certainly looking more dangerous on offense.
But where does this leave the Bucs? According to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report, they'll likely select a wide receiver early in the draft:
Of course, there's always the chance that Sammy Watkins—the electrifying wide receiver from Clemson—could drop to No. 7, though it seems likely he'll be a top-five pick. Either way, Bucs fans should expect the team will add an explosive young talent to pair with Vincent Jackson come the draft.