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Insider

Mike Williams on thin ice with Bucs?

1/30/2014

WR Mike Williams made it through only eight games before his 2013 campaign was cut short by a torn hamstring. Apparently, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers regime under coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik was anything but thrilled with the way Williams carried himself during the remainder of the season.

"[T]he team grew so concerned with Williams’ behavior over the last two months of the season that it was deemed immature and unprofessional as he accumulated several fines totaling more than $200,000 for either being late to mandatory team meetings or missing those meetings and scheduled rehab days for his torn hamstring during the 2013 season," wrote Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report. "... the team viewed his constant partying on Instagram as detrimental to his profession due to those missed meetings and rehab sessions."

Former GM Dominik was concerned enough about Williams' maturity issues last offseason that he left the team an out when he signed the wide receiver to a five-year, $39.6 million contract last offseason.

"That’s why Dominik dropped the base salary to just $1.2 million in 2014 so he could release him if Williams’ 2013 performance didn’t warrant the pay increase and the extension, or Williams lost his focus, which several members of the organization were concerned about," Reynolds added.

The remainder of his contract is not guaranteed after 2014, so the Bucs could cut him this offseason and take a modest $1.8 million cap hit in '14 before the cap hits increase to the $6-7 million range the next three seasons before maxing out at $8.8 million in 2018.

The flip side of his contract is that new coach Lovie Smith can kick the tires on Williams with a minimal cap hit this season to see whether he can get the receiver to grow up on and off the field. If Smith doesn't like what he sees, then the Bucs can move on next offseason when Williams' contract no longer is guaranteed.

Even if the Bucs hold on to Williams they may bring in some WR competition this offseason:

Pat Yasinskas

Weekend mailbag

"Seal in Rhode Island asks if I can envision the Bucs taking a wide receiver in the first or second round of this year’s draft. Probably not. I think the needs are greater in other areas, like defensive end and offensive line. That said, I do think the Bucs need a speed receiver to go with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. They might be able to find someone in the middle rounds or they might be able to get one in free agency. A speed receiver could bring a whole new dimension to Tampa Bay’s offense."