MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers watches as Los Angeles Chargers staff help Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers off the field during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 24, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Best Options for Chargers to Replace Mike Williams

The Los Angeles Chargers have lost wide receiver Mike Williams for the rest of the 2023 season, but the team has some possible replacements.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's victory over the Minnesota Vikings, ending his season and creating a significant void in Justin Herbert's supporting cast.

Prior to getting hurt during the third quarter of Sunday's contest, Williams had pulled down 19 receptions for 249 yards with one touchdown through the first two-plus games of the 2023 campaign.

A seven-year veteran, Williams has caught 309 career receptions for 4,806 yards and 72 touchdowns, but is two seasons removed from producing a career-high 1,146 receiving yards.

Williams' injury comes on the heels of the 28-year-old signing a $60 million contract extension prior to the 2022 season, as he ascended to the top of Herbert's target hierarchy in recent seasons. Just last season, Williams suffered a fractured back in an essentially meaningless Week 17 contest against the AFC West rival Denver Broncos.

Through the season's first three games, Williams and fellow wide receiver Keenan Allen account for 651 yards and three touchdowns, or the equivalent of 69.3 percent of Herbert's passing yards and half his touchdown passes.

With Williams sidelined, the Chargers could turn to their first-round pick to vault to the top of the depth chart at the position, or look to bring in quality veteran depth in hopes of steadying the offense.

Quentin Johnston (Expanded Role)

The easiest solution, and the one multiple league sources believe the Chargers will make to replace Williams, is to elevate rookie Quentin Johnston into an expanded role.

Johnston, the Chargers' first-round pick in April's NFL Draft, has gotten off to a bit of a sluggish start, catching five of his eight targets for 26 yards, but largely buried on the depth chart behind Williams and Keenan Allen. However, given that there does not seem to be a robust wide receiver trade market, Johnston might be the Chargers' option with the most upside to replace Williams' production.

Jarvis Landry (Free Agent)

Jarvis Landry remains the best available veteran free agent, and his skill-set seems to fit the profile of how the Chargers deploy wide receivers.

Landry caught 25 passes for 272 yards with a touchdown last season, as a role player in the New Orleans' Saints receiving corps. If Landry can assuage any injury concerns lingering from his pedal ankle sprain suffered last season, he could provide a boost to the Chargers' receiving corps. Given that Landry can serve the role as a possession receiver, and could be signed on a relatively team-friendly contract given that he is available this late into the season could make this a fascinating fit.

Kenny Golladay (Free Agent)

Kenny Golladay's tenure with the New York Giants was a disastrous one from start to finish, and he quickly fell out of favor with Brian Daboll's coaching staff, prior to being released back in March.

However, it is fair to wonder just how much a change of scenery might benefit Golladay, and how much of his struggles in New York stemmed from the weight of playing under a four-year contract worth $72 million that he signed as a free agent in March, 2021. The best football of Kenny Golladay's career came when he was catching passes from Matthew Stafford, accumulating 183 receptions for 3,068 yards and 21 touchdowns across four seasons in a Lions uniform, before landing in Daniel Jones' supporting cast in the infancy of his development. Perhaps landing with Justin Herbert could reignite Golladay's career.

Phillip Dorsett (Broncos Practice Squad)

Dorsett has bounced around the league, and could be had if the Chargers claim him off the Broncos' practice squad.

Last season, Dorsett showed that he can still make an impact on an offense, catching 20 passes for 257 yards with one touchdown, while appearing in 15 games for the Houston Texans. Dorsett has some familiarity with the AFC West, as well, given that he's currently in the Broncos' building and spent time this offseason as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. Claiming Dorsett could provide both some veteran depth to Herbert's arsenal and also some intel on a pair of division rivals.

Denzel Mims (Free Agent)

A former second-round pick of the New York Jets, back in 2020, Mims has yet to find a home after the Detroit Lions released him following a preseason trade earlier this summer.

Mims, 25, has plenty of remaining upside, and it is evident that Herbert would be the most accomplished and polished quarterback that the former University of Baylor standout will have played with in his career. Through his first 30 games, Mims has caught 42 passes for 676 yards, but is still in search of his first career touchdown. At 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds, Mims could represent a big-bodied red-zone target for Herbert.

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