Raiders waive Williams with plans to sign ex-Jets WR Dwight
Former first-round wide receiver Mike Williams, the 10th overall choice in the 2005 draft but a disappointment with two different franchises during his less than three full seasons in the NFL, was waived by the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday afternoon.
The release of Williams clears a roster spot for the Raiders to sign nine-year veteran wideout and return specialist Tim Dwight, who recently auditioned for Oakland personnel officials and coaches, and who is expected to soon reach contract terms.
A former Southern California star, Williams was acquired by the Raiders from the Detroit Lions, along with quarterback Josh McCown, on the second day of this year's draft. It was by the Raiders that reuniting Williams with first-year head coach, with whom he worked at Southern Cal, would resurrect the young wide receiver's flagging career.
But in six games this season, including one start, Williams had only seven receptions for 90 yards and did not score a touchdown.
Because of his youth and athletic potential, the 23-year-old Williams might draw cursory interest from a few teams intrigued by his possibilities. But he is unlikely to be claimed on waivers and, given his lack of production with the Lions and Raiders, it might be difficult for him to find another job.
Blessed with great size and hands, and the acrobatic ability to adjust to the ball in the air, Williams was viewed when he left the Trojans' program as a future Pro Bowl-caliber player. He petitioned to be allowed into the 2004 draft but, because he did not meet NFL eligibility requirements, was denied. The NCAA also denied him the right to return to school and so he sat out the 2004 campaign.
Still, even with the idle year, many NFL scouts felt Williams would be an impact player when he entered the league. His speed and quickness were always suspect however, and Williams has battled weight problems as well.
He signed a six-year, $13.5 million contract with the Lions that included $8.5 million in total bonuses, but Detroit realized little return on that investment. As a rookie Williams caught 29 passes for 350 yards and one touchdown. But in 28 appearances overall, Williams has only 44 catches for 539 yards and two touchdowns.
Dwight, 32, played with the New York Jets in 2006 but was released in the final cutdown to the regular-season roster.
In stints with Atlanta (1998-2000), San Diego (2001-2004), New England (2005) and the Jets, the former Iowa star has appeared in 110 games. He has 188 catches for 2,866 yards and 17 touchdowns. Dwight has also averaged 23.4 yards and scored two touchdowns on 202 kickoff returns and has 176 punt returns for an average of 9.8 yards and two scores.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
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