The Seahawks released wide receiver Mike Williams Friday, two years after the former Southern California All-America and former No. 1 draft pick made a surprising return to the National Football League following a three-year absence.
The Seahawks saved $3.425 million against the salary cap by cutting him now, according to NFL.com’s Brian McIntyre, who reported July 1 that the Seahawks were $7.4 million under the cap. Williams in the second of a three-year deal that was worth $11.25 million.
Williams broke his ankle and fibula during a tackle after a catch against Chicago Dec. 17. His lengthy rehab didn’t allow him to fully recover for the team’s off-season workouts. Injuries helped limit him to 18 catches.
The Detroit Lions made Williams the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft, but he never lived up to his potential and found himself out of shape and out of the league in 2007 after also failing to make the grade with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans.
The Seahawks, whose coach, Pete Carroll, recruited Williams to USC, signed Williams as a free agent April 16, 2010, with many predicting he was gone from football too long to mount a successful return. But Williams not only made Seattle’s 2010 roster, he became its most productive receiver, catching 65 passes for 751 yards, which included a 68-yard touchdown.
Williams established a career-high in catches with 11 vs. the Arizona Cardinals on two occasions, Oct. 24 and Nov. 14, 2010. He also had a career-high 145 receiving yards at Arizona Nov. 14.
Following the 2010 regular season, Williams set a Seahawks postseason record with three three receiving touchdowns, including one vs. New Orleans and two vs. the Chicago Bears.
The Seahawks signed Williams to an extension Jan. 3, 2011, but he played in only 10 games last season and never found a way to connect with new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Overall, Williams started 23 of 26 games for Seattle, made 83 receptions for 987 yards and five touchdowns and a long of 68.