Running back Jamaal Williams would like to return to the Lions, and the team would like to have him back. However, it appears that Detroit will have competition for Williams’ services.
Per Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com, the Bills, Bengals, and Jets are all interested in Williams, who will turn 28 in April and who is due to hit the free agent market on the heels of a 2022 campaign in which he led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns (Twitter link). His YPC rate of 4.1 was solid, if unspectacular, and he did not make much of an impact in the passing game (12 catches for 73 yards). Backfield mate D’Andre Swift is the more dynamic receiver, and the Lions utilized him accordingly.
Even if he is not an every-down player, Williams can be a quality addition to just about any rushing attack, particularly if he is deployed in conjunction with a shiftier, outside-the-tackles player. As Dunne observes (via Twitter), the Bills have invested a great deal of draft capital in the RB position in recent years, selecting Devin Singletary (third round, 2019), Zack Moss (third round, 2020), and James Cook (second round, 2022). Moss, though, was traded to the Colts in a deadline deal that brought fellow RB Nyheim Hines to Buffalo, and Singletary is, like Williams, days away from free agency.
After a promising rookie season, Cook could be poised to take on more of a workload in 2023, and the Bills should make more use of Hines, who saw just 66 offensive snaps in nine games with the club. Williams’ physical presence and abilities in short-yardage and goal-line situations would nicely complement the skillsets of Cook and Hines, but with limited cap space, Buffalo may not be able to afford a player like Williams that would represent more of a luxury than a need.
The Jets hope to have Breece Hall back at the top of their RB dept chart in 2023, and while Hall expects to be ready for Week 1 after his terrific debut campaign was cut short by an ACL tear, a proven performer like Williams would allow Gang Green to ease Hall back into action. New York does have 2022 UDFA Zonovan Knight and 2021 fourth-rounder Michael Carter under contract, though both players posted a disappointing 3.5 yards-per-carry average last season.
Meanwhile, the Bengals’ reported interest is notable in light of recent reports suggesting that Joe Mixon‘s days in Cincinnati could be numbered. Mixon has not been particularly impressive from a YPC standpoint since 2018, and the team could save over $7MM by releasing him. However, with the Bengals eyeing another deep postseason run in 2023, it is perhaps more likely that Williams would take over Samaje Perine‘s role as Mixon’s running mate should Cincinnati go that route.
Spotrac estimates that Williams can command a two-year contract worth a little over $4MM per year.
4 comments on “Bills, Bengals, Jets Interested In RB Jamaal Williams”
Mixon has looked pretty pedestrian for the last year and a half. Why take a chance of waking up one morning to a terrible newspaper headline when there are plenty of replacements out there that don’t have his kind of baggage.
Mixon’s best football is behind him. Add in the recent baggage and plethora of talent on the market and draft … time to move on.
I think, and hope, he’ll stay in Detroit.
Williams will take the highest cash guaranteed. It’s his last big paycheck.