Chargers' interesting number choice reveals a lot about Mike Williams' future

Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Chargers v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The first move that the LA Chargers made to work toward becoming cap-compliant was to release veteran wide receiver Mike Williams. Coming off a torn ACL, Williams was always an obvious cut candidate thanks to the $20 million the team saved by making the move.

Just because the Chargers released Williams does not mean his tenure with the team is guaranteed to be over. It was reported when the Chargers released Williams that the team was interested in bringing him back at a reduced price. At the time it defied logic considering the team's salary-cap situation. However, after the Keenan Allen trade, there is cap space to spend and a need at wide receiver.

Where there is smoke there is often fire in the NFL and there is smoke around Williams returning. Even more Williams-related smoke has clouded the air, as new signing Hayden Hurst made a very interesting decision in what number he chose to wear as a member of the Chargers.

For those that are unaware, Hurst has worn number 81 for most of his career, including last season with the Atlanta Falcons. Perhaps the Chargers didn't want to give that number away in case they were saving it for a potential return.

Hayden Hurst's number choice adds smoke to Mike Williams fire

This could end up being nothing and Williams may end up finding another team to play for next season. Nobody could blame Williams if he leaves the team for more money, especially after the Chargers opted to release him.

That being said, the fact that the Chargers didn't give Hurst the number 81 and he was so quick to announce what number he would be wearing in LA could also be a telling sign. It does not guarantee that Williams is going to return, but it may signal that the team is at least saving the number in case he does return.

It is safe to say that there is real interest from the Chargers' side to bring Williams back and it all depends on what his going price ends up being. Los Angeles needs to add at least one veteran receiver in free agency after trading Allen and giving Justin Herbert someone he is familiar with might be the best play.

If the Chargers were to bring Williams back, and draft Malik Nabers with the fifth pick, then they would essentially be replacing Allen with one of the best wide receiver prospects in recent draft history. When you look at it that way, the Allen trade does not seem as bad as it initially did.

However, if the Chargers are unable to add wide receiver help then it is going to make that trade look worse. If the Chargers don't add receiver help and don't draft a wideout early in the draft then it should be considered a disaster.

But at the very least, the Chargers are dropping hints that the door to bring Williams back is still wide open. If not, Hurst may have waited a tad longer to announce his number and could have had 81.