Chargers may trade Mike Williams after all as dream trade partner emerges

Los Angeles Chargers v Indianapolis Colts
Los Angeles Chargers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The LA Chargers need to get under the salary cap by Wednesday afternoon and this has put several players on the chopping block. The quartet of Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and Mike Williams all have their futures up in the air after receiving max contract restructures last offseason.

Of the four players, the latter two are the ones that are the most likely to find a new home this offseason. Los Angeles can save salary-cap space by extending Allen and save less money parting ways with Bosa than any other player. The question is not if the Chargers will part ways with Mack and Williams, but how the team will do it.

Trading Williams has seemed less likely than Mack as he is coming off a torn ACL while the latter is coming off a career year. However, a trade suitor may actually be out there for Williams after all, as the New England Patriots have reportedly checked in on the Chargers' trade assets.

A Mike Williams trade is great for the Chargers and Patriots

While all four of the players mentioned could be in play, Williams makes the most sense for the Patriots and is the most likely for the Chargers to trade away. New England needs wide receiver depth and would benefit from getting a veteran X receiver who can help the development of a young quarterback.

New England should be capitalizing on their incoming quarterback's rookie contract window and Williams would be a great way to do that. The Patriots have the room to absorb Williams' contract this season, and because he is on an expiring deal, the Pats will reset their salary-cap space and can pursue a long-term option next offseason.

There really are not many options in free agency that are worth committing a large contract to. Calvin Ridley and Marquise Brown are the two biggest names at receiver in free agency and the Pats could certainly sign both. However, neither are true WR1s and would be getting WR1 money over the next 3-4 years. Instead of committing potentially bad contracts to those players, the Pats could take a one-year option in Williams to help their quarterback's development before shifting gears.

New England has extra picks to trade now as well thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville traded a sixth-round pick for Mac Jones that the Patriots could reasonably flip for Williams. A sixth-round pick may not seem like much for Williams but it is far better than cutting him for nothing.

So why wouldn't the Pats just wait for Williams to be cut? Well, if that happens, they would have to compete with other teams in free agency and Williams could just sign elsewhere. Not only that, but they would probably have to sign him to a multi-year deal to outbid other teams. At that rate, the team might as well take the risk on Ridley.

If the Chargers can get a sixth-round pick for Williams instead of cutting him for free that would be a huge win. Meanwhile, the Pats would essentially be flipping Jones for Williams, which is also a win.