The Eagles have parted ways with a player who has started every game for the team during the last two seasons, announcing today (via Twitter) that they’ve terminated the contract of cornerback Cary Williams. As a vested veteran, Williams won’t have to pass through waivers before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Williams, 30, inked a three-year, $17MM contract with the Eagles prior to the 2013 season, so he had one year remaining on that deal. He has been set to count against the team’s cap for $8.167MM in 2015, so by cutting him, the Eagles will create $6.5MM in cap savings — that was the amount of Williams’ base salary for the coming year. The move leaves the team with $1.667MM in dead money on the books.
While Williams’ performance in the Eagles’ secondary wasn’t great, he was far from a disaster, and he was certainly a workhorse for the club. In each of his two seasons in Philadelphia, Williams led all cornerbacks in defensive snaps, averaging over 1,180 plays per year. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter), the veteran corner said today on Philadelphia radio that he wasn’t asked to take a pay cut, with the team simply deciding to move in another direction.
By cutting ties with Williams, the Eagles are moving toward overhauling their secondary, and particularly the cornerback position. Bradley Fletcher is also not expected to return, meaning the club will be looking for two new starters this offseason. The Eagles are viewed as a potential frontrunner for Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell, who will hit the open market next week.
As for Williams, he’ll have a modest head start on the slew of free agents who will be free to negotiate with new teams in a few days. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the ex-Raven has “strong interest” in returning to Baltimore, and that would seem to be a nice fit, given the problems the Ravens had in the secondary last season.