What the LA Chargers decide to do with Mike Williams this offseason is going to set the table for the rest of the offseason moves, both in the draft and in free agency. The Chargers could either franchise tag Williams, sign him to a new four-year deal, or let him walk in free agency.
All signs are pointing to the Chargers bringing back Williams this offseason but crazier things have happened in the NFL. If the Bolts don't franchise tag there is a possibility that a desperate team outbids the Chargers for Williams's services. If Williams gets past a set value by the Chargers, it may be time to look for a replacement.
The most likely path to replacing Williams seemed to be in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft as the free-agent options are not great. Davante Adams and Chris Godwin are going to cost more and then there is a drop down to the next level of receivers.
The Chargers have a new potential replacement option for Mike Williams in Amari Cooper.
It was reported on Friday morning that the Dallas Cowboys plan to release Amari Cooper in the last year of the Pro Bowl receiver's contract. It appears that the Cowboys are going to cut Cooper in order to extend Michael Gallup.
Cooper is likely going to get around the same deal as Williams and there definitely is a case to be made that Cooper would be a better receiver for the Chargers. As good as Williams was last season, Cooper has a proven track record of success whereas 2021 represented Williams' second season with 1,000 yards.
Cooper has crossed the 1,000-yard mark five times in his career. Williams has never been a Pro Bowler, Cooper has been a Pro Bowler four times in his career. They are the same age as well. Cooper turns 28 in July while Williams turns 28 in October, so age is not a factor in the conversation.
Personally, I lean Williams as a better option just because he has a rapport with Justin Herbert and already has his role figured out in the offense. However, if Williams does walk and the Chargers can get Cooper for a similar price (assuming it does not cross the team's proposed value) then that might be the best thing to do.
Regardless, the Chargers have a superstar quarterback on his rookie deal and other holes that should be addressed in the NFL Draft. This is not the time to get cheap and take away Herbert's targets.
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For that reason, Amari Cooper could be the Chargers' plan B option if Mike Williams ends up on another team this offseason.