"We would like to thank Mike for his contributions over the past two seasons, and we wish him well in the future," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said in a team statement.
Formerly selected by the Detroit Lions out of Southern California with the 10th overall pick of the 2005 NFL Draft, Williams caught 37 passes for 449 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons before he was traded to the Oakland Raiders. Williams caught seven passes for 90 yards in six games in Silver & Black before he was waived and claimed by the Tennessee Titans. Williams struggled with his conditioning and did not appear in a game with the Titans before he was waived in 2008.
After spending two seasons out of football, Williams reunited with former USC head coach Pete Carroll, who had taken over the Seahawks, in 2010. Williams earned a starting job and led the club in receptions (65) and receiving yards (751), adding two touchdowns before signing a three-year, $10.637 million extension before the regular-season finale.
Williams never developed a rapport with new quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in 2011 and caught just 18 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown before being placed on injured reserve with a broken ankle. Overall, Williams caught 83 passes for 987 yards and three touchdowns in 26 games in a Seahawks uniform. Williams had been set to earn $3 million in base salary, $250,000 in per-game roster bonuses and a $150,000 incentive tied to his weight. His release creates more than $3 million in cap space.
The fight for the starting wide receiver job opposite Sidney Rice is expected to be one of the most competitive battles in Seahawks' training camp this season. Last year's leading receiver, Doug Baldwin, will battle Golden Tate, Ben Obomanu, Deon Butler and second-year players Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette. The Seahawks' acquisition of tight end Kellen Winslow might have also impacted the decision to part ways with Williams, as he can fill the possession role Williams was expected to have this season.