James Conner‘s injury has required some running back shuffling in Arizona, but the team’s moves Thursday point to the starter coming back. With Conner practicing after a four-week IR stay, the Cardinals jettisoned two running backs.
The team reached an injury settlement with Damien Williams, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets, doing so while waiving Tony Jones Jr. Williams had been on Arizona’s practice squad injured list, being placed there last week. This transaction will send the veteran running back into free agency.
This marks the second straight year in which Williams, 31, has been cut loose via an injury settlement. The former Super Bowl starter began last season with the Falcons but suffered a rib injury in the team’s opener. As Tyler Allgeier began to flourish in his rookie season, the Falcons did not use one of their injury activations on Williams, releasing him from IR in December.
Although he caught on with the Raiders during Josh Jacobs‘ training camp absence, Williams did not make their 53-man roster. Conner’s injury prompted the Cardinals to add him in October. Williams, who totaled 10 touchdowns between the 2018 and ’19 postseasons as the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt replacement, was active for three games with the Cardinals. He produced 43 yards on 11 carries, joining second-year back Keaontay Ingram and rookie UDFA Emari Demercado as Arizona’s ball carriers during Conner’s absence.
Jones has played in four Saints games this season; he joined the Cardinals as a waiver claim, arriving in the desert shortly after Williams. Jones, who went to training camp with the Broncos, logged three carries as a Cardinal. Demercado and Ingram remain on Arizona’s roster, but the team ditching two other backs points to Conner being ready when first eligible. Though, Demercado missed Week 9 and has not practice this week due to a toe injury. The Cardinals have until Saturday afternoon to activate the seventh-year back. Conner has missed time due to a knee injury, continuing a trend of short-term absences for the former third-round pick.