Darious Williams

Rams Activate CB Darious Williams From IR

The Rams will have a key defender back in uniform Sunday night. They activated cornerback Darious Williams from IR on Saturday, doing so at their first opportunity.

Williams went down with an ankle injury during the Rams’ Week 5 win in Seattle, but he will be back in uniform for another nationally televised game this week. Los Angeles also bumped defensive back Antoine Brooks and defensive lineman Marquise Copeland from its practice squad.

This next stretch of games qualify as pivotal for Williams, who became the only 2021 restricted free agent to be given a first-round tender. Williams is playing on that $4.77MM RFA tender this season, and should he maintain the course he charted last season, a lucrative long-term deal stands to be in his future. Given the Rams’ pattern of acquiring and extending big stars and letting key role players walk, it is not a lock Williams stays in L.A. beyond this season. But the former UDFA does stand to help this year’s championship-contending squad alongside Jalen Ramsey.

Pro Football Focus graded Williams as its No. 4 overall corner last season. The Rams let Troy Hill walk and prioritized Williams as an RFA. Becoming a regular starter for the first time, Williams intercepted four passes last season. He does not have a pick yet this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/3/21

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Rams Move CB Darious Williams To IR

The Rams will be without one of their cornerback starters for at least three games. They placed Darious Williams on IR Tuesday. Williams suffered an ankle injury against the Seahawks, and Sean McVay hinted an IR move could be in the cards.

Williams returned to the Rams for a fourth season and did so on a rare arrangement, being the only restricted free agent given a first-round tender this offseason. The young cover man is in a contract year.

After playing behind Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters early in his career, Williams began to see time after the Rams disbanded that duo in 2019. Last season, the former UDFA became a full-time player alongside Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill. With Hill now in Cleveland and Williams on IR, the Rams are shorthanded at corner.

The team’s defense has already declined from its first-place ranking last season. Through five games, the Rams are 23rd in total defense and 12th in points allowed. Williams, 28, has played 98% of Los Angeles’ defensive snaps, so this will be a major adjustment for the team.

Los Angeles has third-year man David Long and fourth-round rookie Robert Rochell at corner as well. No other pure corners reside on the Rams’ 53-man roster, which will force the team to make at least one addition ahead of its Week 6 game.

The Rams also activated tackle Tremayne Anchrum from IR. A 2020 seventh-round pick, Anchrum played in 12 games last year as a backup but has not yet suited up this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams CB Darious Williams Signs First-Round Tender

Darious Williams is re-signing with the Rams. The restricted free agent signed his first-round tender today, the team announced on Twitter. This locks the cornerback into a $4.77MM price tag for next season.

The cash-strapped Rams raised a few eyebrows when they extended Williams a first-round tender, making him the only RFA who was tendered at that value. Teams rarely use the Round 1 tender, but the team clearly wanted to ensure that Williams stuck around opposite Jalen Ramsey next season. Had another team signed Williams to an offer sheet, they would have had to sacrifice a first-round pick to the Rams. Williams’ deadline to sign an offer sheet was this Friday.

After taking on a larger role as a backup in 2019, Williams had a breakout season in 2020. The 27-year-old finished the campaign having set career-highs across the board, including tackles (44), interceptions (four), and passes defended (14). He ultimately ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 overall cornerback.

The Rams cornerbacks corps is set to look a bit different next season; Troy Hill left for Cleveland, while cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant went to Detroit.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Give Darious Williams Round 1 Tender

Although the Rams have the NFL’s worst cap situation presently, they will use the top restricted free agency tender to keep Darious Williams from leaving.

The Rams tendered Williams at the first-round level, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will mean the emerging cornerback is attached to a $4.77MM price going into the new league year.

Teams rarely use the Round 1 tender, and the Rams are the only team to do so thus far this offseason. But the team clearly wants to ensure Williams sticks around opposite Jalen Ramsey next season. Should another team sign Williams to an offer sheet, it would need to give the Rams a first-round pick. This scenario seems incredibly unlikely.

For a player with three years’ experience, Williams is on the older end (28 today). But he broke through with a big 2020 season, intercepting four passes and rating as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 overall corner. Williams added a pick-six in the Rams’ first-round win over the Seahawks. With Troy Hill on the verge of unrestricted free agency, Williams profiles as a key player for the Rams to retain.

West Rumors: Chiefs, Brown, Bolts, Rams

Andy Reid has worked with an MVP before (Brett Favre) and coached Pro Bowlers in Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Alex Smith. But Chiefs GM Brett Veach makes the case the seventh-year Kansas City HC has never had the kind possibilities for creativity, without limitations, that Patrick Mahomes provides.

I think Andy understands that the talent he has in this kid is like nothing he’s ever had before,” Veach said, via Brooke Pryor of the Kansas City Star. “Not to say he didn’t have good quarterbacks before, not to say he didn’t have a great rapport or relationship with them, but I think Andy’s creativity is not restricted now in any way, not by mental, not by arm strength, not by mobility. Because sometimes you get super-smart guys, and maybe they don’t have this … or you get guys that don’t have this, but they have that.”

Over the course of Reid’s Chiefs tenure, he has steadily incorporated college concepts into his offense. He helped coax the best season of Smith’s career in 2017, but Mahomes’ runaway MVP season obviously established a new bar for the Reid offense’s modern capabilities. In Pryor’s expansive article detailing the relationship between Reid and Mahomes, Veach adds the 21st-year HC not having to scrap any of his play designs separates his partnership with Mahomes.

Here is the latest out of the West divisions, continuing first with (a given) the Antonio Brown saga:

  • Brown is about out of options, and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (on Twitter) Mike Mayock‘s comments Sunday set the stage for potential Raiders discipline if the mercurial receiver does not practice soon. Another Brown option: a lawsuit that would allow him an injunction, thus enabling him for a time to wear his old helmet while the case plays out. That would be a rather extreme response, especially coming after a report indicating Brown was unlikely to appeal the arbitrator’s decision. But that was before NFL- and NFLPA-backed testing struck down Brown’s 2011 Schutt AiR Advantage helmet solution bid failed. Brown could still appeal, but it does not seem probable he would prevail. The Raiders’ dress-rehearsal game is Thursday; it is quite possible, if not likely, Brown will not play in the preseason.
  • Derwin James‘ absence will test the Chargers, but it makes their March re-signing of Adrian Phillips all the more important. The sixth-year safety/All-Pro special-teamer made a big difference playing as a hybrid linebacker in the Chargers’ Round 1 win over the Ravens, and Eric Williams of ESPN.com notes he will receive first crack at replacing James. Phillips (94 tackles in 2018 before a two-turnover wild-card performance) started Sunday’s preseason game against the Saints.
  • The contract-year statuses of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters may force the Rams to consider the big picture when finalizing their roster. Les Snead could well keep an extra corner this season because of the potential 2020 departures of the team’s starting corners, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes (subscription required). In addition to Talib and Peters, slot starter Nickell Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill and third-round pick David Long will be roster locks. That leaves one or two spots left for a host of players who have shown well in camp, with Bonsignore singling out 2018 waiver claim Darious Williams and 2017 UDFA Kevin Peterson as the leaders to round out the corner corps. The latter missed all of 2018 due to injury, but both players have had standout camps. In addition to the Colts, Patriots and Saints, the Rams may begin receiving trade calls on some corners.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/9/18

Here are today’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ravens Activate Jimmy Smith

One of the top players returning from suspension this week, Jimmy Smith will suit up for the first time since Week 13 of last season.

The Ravens activated Smith and waived cornerback Darious Williams. While Williams is now off the Baltimore roster, the team hopes to re-sign him to its practice squad if he clears waivers, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets.

Williams played in three games this season, seeing action strictly on special teams. But with Smith back, that left one less spot available for a corner on this roster.

Suspended after an alleged domestic violence incident, Smith will return to a Ravens defense already playing well. They’re carrying the No. 3 DVOA defense into Week 5, and Smith performed as Baltimore’s best corner last season.

This will be the 30-year-old defender’s eighth Ravens season, and while it should be expected he’ll start soon, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said he won’t disrupt Brandon Carr‘s 164-game start streak because of Smith’s return.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign 15 UDFAs

The Ravens have signed 15 undrafted free agents. Here’s the complete list:

  • Jaelon Acklin, WR (Western Illinois)
  • Randin Crecelius, OL (Portland State)
  • Gus Edwards, RB (Rutgers
  • Justin Evans, G (South Carolina State)
  • Nick Keizer, TE (Grand Valley State)
  • Andre Levrone, WR (Virginia)
  • Mason McKendrick, LB (John Carroll)
  • Christian LaCouture, DL (LSU)
  • Alvin Jones, LB (UTEP)
  • Trent Sieg, LS (Colorado State)
  • Mark Thompson, RB (Florida)
  • Alex Thompson, C (Monmouth)
  • De’Lance Turner, RB (Alcorn State)
  • Kaare Vedvik, P (Marshall)
  • Darious Williams, DB (UAB)

Jones started 43 games at UTEP and tallied 40 tackles for a loss over the course of his NFL career. That’s a pretty solid showing for someone who played quarterback in high school and was initially recruited to UTEP as a safety.

Five Florida Gators were drafted last week, but Thompson did not hear his name called. The talented running back will now get his opportunity to go from the Ravens’ 90-man offseason roster to their 53-man roster in the fall. In a limited sample of work, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry as a senior, though ball security was an issue for him at UF. He’ll have to keep the fumbles to a minimum this offseason as the team already has four running backs on the roster in Alex Collins, Javorius Allen, John Crockett, and Kenneth Dixon plus two other UDFA RBs in Edwards and Turner.