The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new general manager and head coach, so no player should feel comfortable with their current roster spot given that the current administration had nothing to do with them joining the Buccaneers team. While turnover is likely of some players, just as OL Gabe Carimi was released. Carimi was a member of the Chicago Bears when now-Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith was in charge, and was quickly released. Could WR Mike Williams be the next player moved?
The Buccaneers looked like they had the steal of the 2010 NFL draft when character issues caused WR Mike Williams’ stock value to drop. Williams had an explosive rookie season, logging 65 receptions for just under 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. His ability to play at the NFL level isn’t in question, but character issues have been raised once again.
Earlier this month, Williams was slapped with an arraignment hearing on the 24th of this month on criminal mischief and trespassing charges. He was also charged with a DUI charge in 2010, which was eventually dismissed.
This afternoon brings new issues surrounding Williams. Tampa radio station WDAE is reporting that Williams rented a house in a gated community in a Tampa suburb, and held many parties, prompting multiple 911 calls. The report suggests that Williams and his friends did several thousands of dollars worth of damage to the rental. Several offseason reports out of the Bay area also suggest that Williams was also fined over $200,000 dollars this year for missing meetings and rehab appointments.
Tampa extended Williams’ contract last July, handing him a six-year $40 million dollar deal with $9 million guaranteed in addition to his first two-year salaries.
First-year Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith was asked about Williams yesterday at the NFL Combine. Smith seems less than impressed on Williams’ behavior.
“There’s a pattern here and it’s disturbing. No one is bigger than this football team. He has to understand that. Have I been disappointed in Mike Williams? Of course. There’s a standard. We’re just not going to put up with it, no matter who it is. You have to be good on the field and off the field. Simple as that. And if you’re not doing what you need to do one or the other, you have problems and that’s where Mike has to take care of a few things.”
Every new coach wants to make his mark on his new team early. Williams does have skills, but unless Smith believes he can change a pattern of behavior, the Syracuse product might be on the trade block.
The issue facing the Buccaneers is that by cutting Williams, the team would face a $6.4 million cap hit, so perhaps a trade might be in order.
Who might be interested? How about the New England Patriots? The Patriots have lost their connection with former Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, but have taken on former Bucs players that have baggage. How about the Cleveland Browns? If Williams can get his head on straight, he would pair up nicely with Josh Gordon. The Detroit Lions are still looking for a receiver opposite Calvin Johnson.
Lovie Smith is going to mold this Buccaneers team in his own image, and it sounds like Williams is going to have to modify his behavior in order to part of that image.