Saints To Sign RB Darrel Williams

5:00pm: The Saints have signed Williams, per Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football (Twitter link). Williams should have a pass-catching role early in the season in particular as he looks to put together a healthy campaign and in doing so, boost his free agent value. He will also provide insurance against Miller’s injury lasting longer than expected.

12:05pm: With the running back position in flux at the moment, the Saints are eyeing a depth addition. Darrel Williams is set to work out with New Orleans today, per Jordan Schultz of the Score (Twitter link).

Williams spent his first four campaigns in Kansas City, finding himself behind a number of different contributors on the depth chart over that span. In 2021, however, he saw a surge in playing time and recorded the only seven starts of his career. The 28-year-old parlayed that into a notable uptick in production with 558 yards and six touchdowns on the ground, coupled with another 452 yards and two scores through the air.

The former UDFA signed with the Cardinals last year to serve as James Conner‘s pass-catching backup. Williams was limited to just six games, however, and he received only 21 carries in Arizona. With a number of other backs still on the open market, it comes as no surprise that he has not been able to land a deal despite training camps and the preseason being well underway.

New Orleans is expected to pursue help at the position, though, as Jeff Duncan of tweets. Williams, a Marrero, Louisiana native and LSU alum, could provide depth in a backfield which will be without Alvin Kamara for the first three weeks of the season due to suspension and which lost Eno Benjamin for the year to an Achilles tear. The Saints appeared poised to sign Kareem Hunt last week, but his visit did not result in a deal being signed.

With Kamara temporarily out of the picture, much of the Saints’ backfield responsibilities will fall to free agent signing Jamaal Williams and third-round rookie Kendre Miller. The latter suffered an injury scare during the team’s preseason win on Sunday, threatening to thin out the roster further at the RB spot. Testing confirmed Miller suffered a knee sprain, but surgery will not be required and recovering in time for Week 1 is still in play at this point (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network).

Even if Miller is able to suit up at the start of the season, a vacancy exists which Williams could fill if his visit convinces the Saints to add him. As the Hunt workout demonstrated, New Orleans is not prepared to make a sizable commitment in terms of guaranteed money for a depth addition to the backfield. It will be interesting to see if Williams’ case produces a different result than Hunt’s.

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