Chargers trading Mike Williams just became much more likely

Miami Dolphins v Los Angeles Chargers
Miami Dolphins v Los Angeles Chargers / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

The biggest storyline for the LA Chargers this offseason is how the team is going to get under the salary cap for the 2024 season. Thanks to bold restructures by Tom Telesco last offseason, the Chargers entered the offseason well over the salary cap.

There are several moves the Chargers can make to free upwards of $62 million in cap space, with one of those moves already happening with the team cutting Eric Kendricks last week. With the team still over the cap and needing to become cap-compliant, the Bolts need to make more moves and the next most likely move is cutting ties with Mike Williams.

It has already been reported that the Chargers are exploring a Williams trade this offseason, which is the most obvious news that could have dropped this March. This has long seemed like the best-case scenario for the Bolts, but because of Williams' injury history and the fact that he is coming off a torn ACL, it seemed unlikely that Williams would conjure any trade interest from other teams.

However, Williams may have more of a market than fans expected. With the Denver Broncos trading Jerry Jeudy over the weekend, it's worth bringing into question if Williams will actually have a trade market this offseason.

Chargers trading Mike Williams is more likely thanks to Jerry Jeudy trade

If the Cleveland Browns were willing to trade a fifth and sixth-round pick for Jerry Jeudy (outbidding other interested teams as well) then there is a decent chance that a team might be willing to send a day three pick for Williams.

While he is a former first-round pick, Jeudy has not necessarily caught on in the NFL and at best he is a backend WR2. Could Jeudy have a breakout year in Cleveland? Sure. But he has not even come close to scratching the surface of what Williams has been able to do in the league.

Williams has a larger cap hit than Jeudy but it is not exponentially larger. Jeudy's cap hit this offseason comes in a hair under $13 million for the Cleveland Browns. Any team trading for Williams would be taking on a $20 million cap hit. There certainly is a difference, but the difference is justified by the perfomance gap between Williand and Jeudy.

There are a few things working in the Chargers' favor in this regard. The salary cap ended up coming in higher than expected, which could make WR-hungry teams more likely to absorb the one-year cap hit of Williams. Additionally, the wide receiver free-agent market is extremely weak, especially after Mike Evans signed a new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Any team on the cusp of being a Super Bowl contender that needs a receiver isn't going to be able to find that instant impact unless they hit on a late first-round receiver. And as we all know thanks to Quentin Johnston, those picks can be hit or miss.

A Williams trade is not guaranteed, and news is going to move extremely fast this week, but the Chargers trading Williams just became much more likely.