Damien Williams

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.

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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.

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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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Dolphins RB Damien Williams Signs Tender

Damien Williams has signed his RFA tender, according to a league source who spoke with Adam Beasley of The Miami Herald (on Twitter). Williams was reportedly reluctant to sign on the dotted line over a desire for more money, but he has decided to move forward and play on the one-year, $1.8MM deal. Damien Williams (vertical)

Restricted free agents have little recourse once a tender is applied and the window for offer sheets closes, but Williams was hoping to pressure Miami into giving him a pay bump anyway. As expected, things didn’t work in the running back’s favor. Still, he’s in a pretty good spot as the tender will pay him three times what he earned in 2016.

The Patriots took a late look at Williams around the same time as they met with Mike Gillislee, but they ultimately signed the Bills ballcarrier to an offer sheet instead. As far as we know, no other clubs showed serious interest in signing him.

With Jay Ajayi entrenched as the No. 1 ball carrier, Williams is slated to share backup duties with rising sophomore Kenyan Drake.

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Dolphins’ Damien Williams Wants Pay Bump

Damien Williams has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender and there’s a reason for that. The running back is trying to pressure the Dolphins into giving him more money, as Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald writes. Damien Williams (vertical)

This offseason, Williams only drew interest from the Patriots as an RFA. Ultimately, the Pats inked Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet rather than Williams and the deadline passed without any other team stepping up. Williams wants more than the one-year, $1.8MM tender, but he has no real leverage at this stage of the offseason. If Williams wants to play in the NFL in 2017, it’s Dolphins or bust.

So we have his rights,” said Dolphins executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum. “He hasn’t signed his tender. He is a restricted free agent and our tender is still out there.”

With Jay Ajayi entrenched as the No. 1 ball carrier, Williams is slated to share backup duties with rising sophomore Kenyan Drake. He may choose to stay away from the team for a bit this offseason, but it’s hard to see him winning this battle.

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Patriots Host Mike Gillislee, Damien Williams

The Patriots got a double dose of restricted free agent running backs on Wednesday. The Patriots hosted Bills RFA RB Mike Gillislee and Dolphins RFA RB Damien Williams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Mike Gillislee (Vertical)

The Bills surprised many in the football world when they assigned Gillislee an original round/right of first refusal tender, which would only entitle them to a fifth-round pick if they did not match an offer sheet. For another $1MM or so, the Bills could have placed the second-round tender on Gillislee and that probably would have kept every potential suitor at bay. Gillislee averaged an NFL-best 5.7 yards per carry on 101 attempts as LeSean McCoy‘s understudy.

Williams, 25, was eclipsed by Jay Ajayi in Miami last year. Ultimately, he finished out with 35 carries for 115 yards (3.3 yards per carry average) and three touchdowns. Although the Dolphins would like to keep him, they would be able to get by just fine with Ajayi and Kenyan Drake holding down the RB position. They can also replenish the RB group in the late rounds of this year’s draft.

It’s fair to wonder whether the Patriots’ interest in either player is sincere. Already, the Pats have free agent addition Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, James White, D.J. Foster, and Branden Bolden on the roster and LeGarrette Blount remains available. The Patriots could be taking a real look at guys like Gillislee, Williams, and Adrian Peterson, but they could also be faking it to put additional pressure on Blount to re-sign. It doesn’t sound like Blount has much of an outside market for his services, so that could be an effective strategy for New England.

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Dolphins To Place First-Round Tender On Kiko Alonso

The Dolphins are doing their best to ensure Kiko Alonso doesn’t bolt Miami as a restricted free agent, placing a first-round RFA tender on the linebacker, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets. Miami’s brass hopes this agreement will merely serve as a placeholder, because the Dolphins are attempting to sign Alonso long-term, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

This continues the Dolphins’ path for an Alonso re-up. By using the first-round tender, Alonso will see a $3.91MM salary in 2017 — around $3MM more than he made in 2016 — if no extension is reached by Week 1.

Alonso has been the rare twice-traded starter on a rookie contract, bouncing from Buffalo to Philadelphia to Miami. He rated as Pro Football Focus’ No. 48 full-time linebacker last season.

The Dolphins also will place original-round tenders — $1.797MM — on safety Michael Thomas and running back Damien Williams.