Chargers release WR Mike Williams; restructure Khalil Mack

The Sporting Tribune's Fernando Ramirez on the Chargers making cap saving moves.

LOS ANGELES — The Chargers brass have decided to release wide receiver Mike Williams after seven seasons with the team.

The move frees up $20 million from the cap and gets the Chargers back in good standing now that the new league year has started.

Conversely, the Chargers and edge rusher Khalil Mack have agreed on a restructured contract, according to ESPN. It frees up money to make room for the Gus Edwards, Will Dissly, and Alohi Gilman contracts.

Williams is coming off an ACL injury but will be a weapon for whatever team decides to sign him.

He was drafted seventh overall in the 2017 draft, but questions arose after a lackluster rookie year in which he only caught 11 passes for 95 yards.

Williams put together a 43-catch season for 664 yards the following year as he grew increasingly comfortable with quarterback Philip Rivers, but the impressive stat was the ten touchdowns.

Williams began to grow as a receiver, posting his first 1,000-yard season in 2019. Then, when Justin Herbert took over in 2020, he was a player that he depended on.

In 2021, Williams had his biggest season, catching 76 passes for 1,146 yards and nine touchdowns. He was Herbert’s go-to receiver in the fourth quarter.

In 2022, he dealt with an ankle injury that had him miss four games but still came away with 63 catches for 895 yards and four touchdowns. He also hurt his back on the final game of the season when Chargers brass let starters play even though they already had the fifth spot in the playoffs wrapped up.

He missed the wild card round debacle against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in which the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead.

Whatever team decides to sign, Williams will get a deep-threat receiver who, in the last two seasons, has also begun improving his short rage game. He could help enhance a team’s offense, no doubt.

On the Mack side, he is coming off a career year, even at 32 years old, remains one of the best edge rushers in the NFL and hasn’t missed a game since being traded to the Chargers.

He sacked the opposing quarterback 17 times, had 74 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles.

He might have been in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation if the Chargers had been more successful.

Harbaugh and GM Joe Hortiz still have work to do because they don’t have much cap space to make the necessary moves to continue building their team.

Keep an eye on receiver Keenan Allen and edge rusher Joey Bosa as the Chargers can help themselves free up cap working out something with them.