Damien Williams

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Colts, Burfict, Allen

Although Tyreek Hill returned to practice this week, the Chiefs‘ offense will continue to operate without its premier wide receiver Sunday. The Chiefs ruled out Hill, but Damien Williams is expected to return to action, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Kansas City’s starting running back missed the past two games with a knee injury, leading to LeSean McCoy and second-year back Darrel Williams splitting time in the backfield. Damien Williams amassed 154 scrimmage yards and scored in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over the Colts last season. Signs point to Hill returning in Week 6.

Shifting first to the team traveling to Missouri for this week’s Sunday-nighter, here’s the AFC’s latest:

  • Darius Leonard will miss his third consecutive game due to a concussion. Both Colts starting safeties will be out, with Clayton Geathers (concussion) joining Malik Hooker on the mend. Hooker is recovering from a knee injury. T.Y. Hilton got in a second straight limited practice, putting Indianapolis’ top wideout in line to return, but rookie receiver Parris Campbell underwent a procedure on his knee and will be out for an unknown time period, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. Campbell has played in each Colts game this season but missed preseason time with a hamstring malady.
  • The Bengals were expected to take their lumps this season. The Broncos‘ 0-4 start has surprised. But executives around the league are not anticipating a firesale for either franchise. “I agree they absolutely should be shopping players (ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline), but I have my doubts,” an NFL exec told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. “We’re applying reason and logic, but I’m not sure those teams will fully embrace what needs to be done.” Denver, which did trade Demaryius Thomas before last season’s deadline, has standouts from its previous Super Bowl team on expiring contracts — Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders. The Bengals house veterans A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. But Green is still recovering from injury and the latter two are early into 2018 extensions.
  • Josh Allen logged a full practice Friday, putting the Bills‘ starter on a path toward returning Sunday against the Titans. Allen suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Matt Barkley would start if the Bills, who have a Week 6 bye, play it safe with their offensive centerpiece.
  • Vontaze Burfict faces a rest-of-the-season suspension that could well end his career. The polarizing Raiders linebacker’s appeal is scheduled for Tuesday, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets his argument will be based around the lack of precedent for a 13-week suspension ensuing because of one hit. However, the NFL said in its letter to the oft-suspended linebacker this ban was issued for a pattern of on-field decisions, rather than merely his collision with Jack Doyle. This considered, Burfict’s argument may not be successful.

Injury Roundup: Hilton, Lions, Bolts, Rams

It’s looking like the Colts‘ passing attack will have to operate without its top weapon Sunday. T.Y. Hilton drew a doubtful designation on Indianapolis’ Friday injury report. He did not practice all week. The eighth-year wideout left the Colts’ Week 3 win with a quadriceps injury, and although the Raiders enter Week 4 ranked 30th in pass defense DVOA, the Colts went 0-2 without Hilton last season. They are already down previous starter Devin Funchess, who sits on IR. The Colts also ruled Darius Leonard out for a second straight week. The All-Pro linebacker remains in concussion protocol.

Here is the latest from the Week 4 injury front:

  • Matthew Stafford popped up on the Lions‘ injury report Friday; he’s listed as questionable with a hip malady. While Stafford should be expected to play, given that he’s played through injuries in recent years and holds the league’s third-longest active start streak among QBs with 131, this is a less-than-ideal scenario going into a key inter-conference matchup with the Chiefs. Rookie UDFA David Blough has been Stafford’s backup this season, though Jeff Driskel is now on Detroit’s 53-man roster.
  • That matchup will not include Chiefs starting running back Damien Williams, who will miss a second straight game with a knee ailment. LeSean McCoy put together two full practices this week and will likely team up with Darrel Williams, as he did last week, in Detroit.
  • Good news for the Rams‘ offense. Sean McVay said both Austin Blythe and Tyler Higbee will be available against the Buccaneers on Sunday, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Blythe missed Los Angeles’ Week 3 game with a sprained ankle, while Higbee has been sidelined with a lung contusion.
  • Another Chargers game will unfold without their primary kicker option. The Bolts ruled out Michael Badgley for a fourth straight contest. Punter Ty Long‘s multipurpose afternoons will continue. Long made both of his field goal tries last week after missing two in Week 2.
  • Additionally for the Bolts, they will be without Mike Williams. He’s been declared out with a back injury. Travis Benjamin will head to Miami as doubtful to play, meaning Dontrelle Inman and Geremy Davis stand as the Chargers’ only two healthy auxiliary wideouts. This marks Williams’ second injury of the season. A knee problem plagued the third-year target earlier this month but did not force him to miss any time.
  • The Vikings‘ No. 2-ranked rushing attack will be tested in Chicago this week, and right guard starter Josh Kline will not play a part in the NFC North contest. The free agent acquisition will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion that kept him out of practice this week. This will end Kline’s 49-start streak. Veteran Dakota Dozier will start, per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dozier has started eight games in his six-season career, which included a Week 2 start in place of Pat Elflein.

Chiefs Damien Williams Ruled Out For Week 3

Damien Williams has been ruled out for the Chiefs‘ Week 3 contest against the Ravens, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (Twitter link). The running back suffered a knee injury during last week’s battle against the Raiders.

Kansas City is dealing with a bevy of injuries, including LT Eric Fisher and WR Tyreek Hill. LeSean McCoy is nursing an ankle injury but is expected to play.

While McCoy is expected to carry a heavier load, Darwin Thompson could see action as well. Darrell Williams, who played a role for the Chiefs last postseason is also a candidate to earn touches.

Chiefs Notes: Hill, Fisher, Williams, McCoy

Tyreek Hill‘s three-year, $54MM Chiefs extension comes with a host of conditions that protect the team, and more Chiefs-friendly stipulations in the controversial wide receiver’s deal have come to light. The All-Pro talent received $22MM-plus in full guarantees, but this contract would allow the Chiefs to void those if any additional trouble comes Hill’s way, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Were Hill to be suspended or placed on the commissioner’s exempt list at any point, his guarantees will void. Hill’s fully guaranteed figure ranks behind 11 wideouts’, including Sammy Watkins‘ $30MM.

The Chiefs have made this a year-to-year proposition, with Hill’s deal calling for league-minimum base salaries from 2019-21. The bulk of this deal’s money stands to come via bonuses. Hill has a $15.2MM roster bonus for the 2020 season, but JLC notes that money is not due until February 2021 — near the end of the 2020 league year. This would allow the team to avoid that bonus payment, should Hill encounter more off-field issues. The same structure is in place in 2021, with a $9.75MM roster bonus due in February 2022. The Chiefs hold an option for Hill’s 2022 season.

Hill pleaded guilty to striking his pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Espinal, while at Oklahoma State and fell to the fifth round as a result. The Chiefs were set to negotiate what would almost certainly have been a more player-friendly deal in March of this year, but Hill’s ensuing trouble (for which he was not suspended) sidetracked those plans and led to this complex contract.

Here is the latest out of Kansas City:

  • Eric Fisher will miss his first start in six years on Sunday. The Chiefs left tackle underwent core muscle surgery this week in Philadelphia, Adam Teicher of ESPN.com tweets. Fisher, who suffered a groin injury in practice last week but started against the Raiders, will miss Sunday’s game against the Ravens and likely more time as he recovers. He has not been placed on IR. Cam Erving will start at left tackle against the Ravens, though Andy Reid has said standout right tackle Mitchell Schwartz could move to the left edge if need be. The 2013 No. 1 overall pick, Fisher has not missed a start since his rookie season.
  • Damien Williams has now missed two practices with a knee injury, pointing to either a Week 3 absence or a game-time decision. Making matters more complicated for the three-time defending AFC West champions, LeSean McCoy is also battling an injury. Shady is dealing with ankle trouble and did not practice Wednesday. He looks to have a better chance of playing Sunday, however. The Chiefs have Darrel Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson on their roster as well.
  • The Chiefs are one of a few teams that have made “substantive inquiries” on Jalen Ramsey.

AFC West Rumors: Chargers, Chiefs, Brown

The Chargers are holding firm on their approximate $10MM-per-year offer to Melvin Gordon, and the fifth-year running back moved to request a trade. But with the market for running backs not exactly booming, the Bolts do not appear to believe they will get the value they would seek in a trade, Albert Breer of SI.com notes (on Twitter). This is understandable, given the state of the running back position’s state in the modern game and Gordon’s injury history. He has missed time due to maladies in three of his four seasons, including 2018. Chargers backup Austin Ekeler led the team last season with 5.2 yards per carry (on 106 totes); the third-year back and 2018 seventh-rounder Justin Jackson sit atop the Bolts’ depth chart without Gordon.

Here is the latest from the AFC West, first moving to the divisional kingpin’s running back situation.

  • A hamstring injury has shelved Chiefs RB1 Damien Williams throughout the team’s training camp, and it has created some uncertainty about who will primarily line up behind Patrick Mahomes. “I can’t tell you exactly when,” Andy Reid said, via the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, of Williams’ potential return. “He’s missed quite a bit, missed a lot of plays but it’s been great for the other guys. Carlos has done a nice job. He’s getting a lot of reps and he’s taking advantage of them.” The Chiefs signed Hyde to a one-year, $2.6MM deal this offseason. Williams is attached to a two-year, $5.1MM contract.
  • Despite Antonio Brown‘s trip to see a Bay Area foot specialist, the Raiders wide receiver remains categorized as “day to day,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 10th-year wideout has yet to go through a full Raiders training camp practice.
  • Russell Okung‘s uncertain situation has led the Chargers to try guard Forrest Lamp at left tackle, Breer tweets. Lamp has not yet lived up to his second-round draft status, seeing a rookie-year ACL tear impact his career. However, the third-year guard may have a future at tackle. Although, that would leave Los Angeles’ guard group thinner. The Bolts are experimenting with various personnel up front, arguably their weakest area.
  • The Broncos placed Billy Winn on IR this weekend and did so because of a torn tendon in his arm, Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post tweets. A veteran defensive lineman, Wynn was attempting to play in his first regular-season game since 2016.

West Notes: Harris, 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders

Shortly after agreeing to a redone 2019 contract, Chris Harris announced intentions to bet on himself in advance of a 2020 free agency venture. The decorated Broncos cornerback bypassed free agency in 2015, signing a five-year extension, but is targeting top cornerback money next year. As for the chances of the Broncos being the team that authorizes such a deal, the soon-to-be 30-year-old defender said that would be the goal.

I’m definitely giving them a shot. Definitely,” Harris said, via NFL.com, of the prospect of re-signing with the Broncos after this season. “The situation could always be salvaged and worked out. So, I’ll go do my thing, and then at the end of the year, whatever, I’ll definitely give them a fair chance, for sure.

I’ve always said I want to retire here and that’s always been my mentality here. So, if I got to go show them in 16 games that I want to retire here, then I’m going to go do.”

When the Broncos and Harris discussed his deal this offseason, both sides preferred a long-term extension. But the parties were so far apart they shifted to this rare pay-raise agreement. The Broncos are projected to hold $50MM-plus in 2020 cap space, and while Harris would stand to profile as their most talented free agent-to-be, it appears this situation can be tabled for several months.

Here is the latest coming out of the West divisions:

  • After converting college safety Tarvarius Moore to cornerback his rookie year, the 49ers recently moved him back. Jimmie Ward‘s broken collarbone prompted this change, with The Athletic’s Matt Barrows noting (subscription required) Moore was stationed at corner as recently as last week. DC Robert Saleh praised Moore’s versatility. Fellow 2018 safety draftee D.J. Reed is also recovering from offseason surgery, so Moore’s latest position switch might not be permanent.
  • Given a starting role by two teams thus far in his career, Carlos Hyde is again set to work as a backup. The Chiefs plan to use Damien Williams as their starter over the former 49ers and Browns first-stringer, OC Eric Bieniemy said (via 610 Sports’ Brandon Kiley, on Twitter). Summoned into action because of Kareem Hunt‘s midseason exit and a Spencer Ware injury, Williams averaged 5.1 yards per carry during the regular season and scored four playoff touchdowns. Coming into his surprise promotion, Williams averaged 3.6 yards per tote in four seasons as a Dolphins backup. A year after signing a three-year, $15.25MM deal with the Browns, Hyde is attached to a one-year, $1.5MM Chiefs pact.
  • Trent Brown did not voice a preference to play left or right tackle, and the 6-foot-8, 380-pound Raiders blocker said moving back to right tackle will be less of a transition than sliding to the left side with the Patriots last year. The Raiders moved Brown because they prefer Kolton Miller on the left side, OC Greg Olson said. “Certainly, we had a chance to study Trent before when he was in San Francisco. We’ve seen him on both sides,” Olson said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’ve had a chance to have Kolton, obviously, on the left side, so that’s where we’ve started this spring.”

Chiefs Sign RB Damien Williams To Extension

Damien Williams has had a recent stint as the Chiefs’ starting running back, and he’s parlayed that opportunity into an extension. Terez A. Paylor reports (via Twitter) that Williams has signed a two-year extension with Kansas City. The deal has a max value of $8.1MM (via Paylor on Twitter).

Williams started the year buried on the depth chart, as he ran for a single yard on two carries through the first 11 weeks of the season. Following Kareem Hunt‘s sudden release, the 26-year-old earned reps as Spencer Ware‘s backup, and he’s started the past two games with Ware out of the lineup. After rushing for a pair of touchdowns in Week 15, he ran for a career-high 103 yards last Sunday. Williams has also established himself as a reliable target in the Chiefs’ passing game, as he’s hauled in 13 receptions over the past two weeks.

The 2014 undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma is hoping he’s found a home in Kansas City. Williams spent the first four seasons of his career with the Dolphins, but he never garnered more than 46 carries in a single season. Now, the journeyman will have an opportunity to retain his starting job next year with the Chiefs. However, Paylor cautions that the organization could still pursue a running back via free agency or the draft, where the team is armed with four picks in the first three rounds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Sign RB Damien Williams

The Chiefs are signing running back Damien Williams, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s a one-year deal for $1.5MM. Williams recently had shoulder surgery and will miss most of the offseason, but the team hopes that he’ll be available for training camp, according to Rapoport. 

The Chiefs will start Kareem Hunt at running back and they hope to have Spencer Ware as the No. 2 RB behind him. But, Williams himself is coming off of preseason surgery to repair a torn PCL and a damaged LCL. Williams will serve as insurance for Ware, but the possibility exists that neither player will be at full strength to start the year.

Williams has spent the last four seasons in the league with the Dolphins, where he was used predominantly as a pass catcher, Williams has 85 receptions for 733 yards and six touchdowns to his credit with just 133 carries for 477 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Damien Williams To Visit Chiefs

After meeting with Thomas Rawls this weekend, the Chiefs will continue to look at running backs this coming week by visiting with former Dolphins backup Damien Williams, Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets

The starter in K.C. is unquestionably Kareem Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie in 2017. Williams could serve as insurance in the case that Spencer Ware has not recovered from preseason surgery to repair a torn PCL and a damaged LCL.

Undrafted in 2014 coming out of Oklahoma, Williams has spent his first four seasons in the league with Miami, appearing in 58 games. Used more as a pass catcher out of the backfield than as a runner, Williams has logged 85 grabs for 733 yards and six touchdowns, compared to 133 carries for 477 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

After the Dolphins dealt Jay Ajayi to the Eagles at the trade deadline, Williams made four starts and logged 149 yards on 34 carries during the stretch. In Week 12 against the Patriots, he dislocated his shoulder and was sidelined the remainder of the season.

 

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Dolphins RB Damien Williams To Miss Time

Dolphins running back Damien Williams suffered a dislocated shoulder on Sunday and is now expected to miss time, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Williams will be sidelined for next week’s game against the Broncos, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, and could potentially be absent for further contests given that a dislocated shoulder typically requires a two-to-three week recovery period, per Rapoport.Damien Williams (vertical)

Miami traded starting running back Jay Ajayi to the Eagles on October 31, and Williams has split time with second-year pro Kenyan Drake over the past four weeks. Since Week 9, Williams has handled 34 carries to Drake’s 32, while both have managed 12 receptions. On the ground, Drake has been the more effective player, as he’s averaged 5.47 yards per carry while Williams sits at 4.38 yards per attempt.

With Williams out of the picture, Drake will now take on a full-time role. Senorise Perry now becomes the Dolphins’ No. 2 back, and the club could look to add an outside option to the 53-man roster (Miami doesn’t currently have a running back on its practice squad). The Dolphins have only a 1% chance of earning a postseason berth following yesterday’s loss to the Patriots, so inking a veteran back isn’t necessarily a requirement, as the team may use this opportunity to look at a younger player.

Williams, 25, will become an unrestricted free agent in 2018. He’s playing the 2017 campaign on a restricted free agent contract, and received interest from New England during the offseason.

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