Mike Williams has not played since Week 3 of the 2023 season and the Chargers have desperately missed him. The Chargers' offense sputtered without Williams and it became obvious just how important he was to what the Chargers wanted to do offensively.
While the Chargers struggled without Williams, it is still really hard for the team to justify bringing him back next season. If the Bolts weren't so high over the salary cap then the team could talk itself into bringing Williams back but that is not the situation the Chargers are in. Los Angeles needs to free up salary cap space and parting ways with Williams is an easy way to do that.
Per Over The Cap, the Chargers can free up $20 million in cap space if Williams is traded or cut before June 1. Trading Williams might be hard as his new team would have to pay $17 million but there could be a team that talks itself into that move in the offseason.
If Williams stays in Los Angeles then he would carry a $32.46 million cap hit in the 2024 season. As important as he seemed this season, it is hard to justify paying an injury-prone receiver who is coming off a torn ACL (and will be 30) that much money.
If Williams didn't get hurt this season then maybe it would be a different situation. But with the injury fresh in the rear-view mirror, it is clear that the Bolts need to move on from the former first-round pick.