Damien Williams

Raiders Reduce Roster To 53 Players

The Raiders cut down their roster to 53 players today. However, in the process, they were forced to move on from a handful of veterans:



Placed on IR:

  • OT Dalton Wagner

The Raiders signed Jaquan Johnson early during free agency, and there was hope he’d provide some experienced depth to their secondary. Ultimately, the team decided to go in another direction, but that doesn’t mean the safety won’t quickly find another gig elsewhere. Johnson got into 60 games for the Bills over the past four years, including a 2022 campaign where he finished with a career-high 32 tackles and one interception.

On the other side of the ball, the organization moved on from some notable offensive weapons. Keelan Cole Sr. got into 14 games for the Raiders last season, collecting 10 receptions for 141 yards. Phillip Dorsett II joined Las Vegas this offseason after spending the 2022 campaign with the Texans, where he hauled in 20 catches. Damien Williams has close to 500 touches in the NFL, although he only got into one game for the lowly Falcons last season.

Raiders, RB Damien Williams Agree To Deal

Damien Williams‘ recent Raiders workout will lead to a mid-training camp agreement. The former Super Bowl starter agreed to terms with the team Friday, according to his agent (on Twitter).

Spending last year with the Falcons, Williams completed two auditions in the desert recently. The Cardinals went in another direction following Marlon Mack‘s injury, but Williams will end up with a Raiders team still without Josh Jacobs.

Staying away from the Raiders after the July franchise tag deadline came and went without an extension, Jacobs had left the Silver and Black without much at running back. The team has 2022 fourth-round pick Zamir White listed as its starter, and while Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden are still on the roster, neither profiles as a Jacobs fill-in. Williams would, though he has not seen extensive run since he last played for the Chiefs — back in 2019.

Williams, 31, joined Rex Burkhead in a recent Raiders workout. The Cardinals signed Stevie Scott following Mack’s Achilles tear, and Williams will attempt to crack another 53-man roster. While he has done so in each of the past two summers, Williams’ Falcons and Bears tenures did not involve extensive workloads. A lack of mileage has helped Williams stay active at 31. The former Dolphins UDFA has only 490 career touches on his resume.

The Falcons reached an injury settlement with Williams, who played just one game with the team after a 2022 deal. A rib injury sidelined Williams, who totaled only 56 touches during the 2021 season in Chicago. The Chiefs used Williams as their primary post-Kareem Hunt back but cut him following his 2020 opt-out decision.

Williams delivered dazzling playoff work in Kansas City between the 2018 and ’19 postseasons, totaling 10 touchdowns in five games during that span. The Hunt replacement amassed 540 scrimmage yards over those two postseasons. This included a 104-yard rushing performance in a two-touchdown Super Bowl LIV. Although Patrick Mahomes predictably edged Williams for MVP acclaim that night, the veteran back made important contributions to the Chiefs’ cause.

Due to his absence not technically qualifying as a holdout, Jacobs can stay away from the Raiders free of charge. But the reigning rushing champion will begin to miss out on game checks of $561K by remaining away from the team once the regular season begins. The Raiders can also rescind Jacobs’ $10.1MM tender, though that would be an extreme step — particularly as Josh McDaniels resides on a somewhat warmer seat in Year 2 at the helm.

Latest On Raiders, Josh Jacobs

AUGUST 3: Despite the report indicating Vegas is open to further negotiations, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that no new dialogue has taken place as of yet. The Barkley situation could still provide a roadmap to a resolution in this case, but the leverage advantage the team has gives them little obligation to actively pursue a deal other than the tag. Plenty of time remains before the regular season, though signs do not point to this situation ending soon.

AUGUST 1: With Saquon Barkley rejoining the Giants earlier than expected — in exchange for a small incentive packageJosh Jacobs stands alone among the franchise-tagged contingent. The Raiders running back has not reported to the Raiders, staying away in protest of the franchise tag.

Barkley was believed to be preparing to skip camp as well, but he changed his mind and now has a high-six-figure incentive set to chase. Would the Raiders be amenable to a similar agreement to bring Jacobs back? The team is open to restarting talks with Jacobs, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets.

Seeing as the tag deadline came and went without a running back being extended, there is not too much talking left to do. Jacobs is tied to the $10.1MM tag price, though the league’s reigning rushing champion has not signed the tender. The Raiders can rescind it and take their chances with lesser backs. That should not be considered likely. The team can also agree not to tag Jacobs in 2024, but with the Giants not making that concession for Barkley, it is hard to see the Raiders doing so for Jacobs. They still wield the power here, with Jacobs set to miss out on $561K for each regular-season game he misses.

The team can dangle some incentives for Jacobs, who can stay away until Week 1 without being fined. They can also trade him. Teams interested in Jonathan Taylor would stand to be curious about Jacobs, though no extension can be discussed until January 2024. Jacobs, 25, has made a number of cryptic tweets suggesting dissatisfaction with how his negotiations went. The Raiders have been connected to making an offer in the $12MM-per-year range; another report indicated the sides were not close to hammering out an extension.

I think everybody loves and respects J.J. and understands the process,” Josh McDaniels said, via SI.com’s Gilberto Manzano. “I certainly do. And I’ve said it a million times this year: I love the player and the person, and I understand the process he’s going through. We’re going to work as hard as we can with the guys that are here every day, and ultimately when he’s back, we’re going to look forward to getting him back and integrated into the group.

Like the Giants, the Raiders are not especially deep at running back. They have 2022 fourth-round pick Zamir White and veteran special-teamers Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah atop their depth chart behind Jacobs. The team also brought in veterans Rex Burkhead and Damien Williams for Tuesday workouts, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Burkhead’s Las Vegas cameo should not exactly come as a surprise, given the number of ex-Patriots the Raiders have brought in since hiring McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler. Burkhead spent the past two years in Houston, but the veteran played four seasons (2017-20) in New England. McDaniels was the Pats’ OC throughout that period. Williams, whom the Falcons released from their IR list last season, worked out for the Cardinals last week. Burkhead is 33; Williams is 31.

Despite their respective ages, neither has amassed a particularly high number of career touches. Burkhead sits at 680, Williams 490. This has kept the duo’s careers going past age 30, and the Raiders are checking in as they manage a higher-workload back’s hiatus.

Cardinals Work Out RB Damien Williams

An early-season injury wrapped Damien Williams‘ Falcons tenure at one game, but the former Super Bowl-winning running back remains on the NFL radar. The Cardinals brought in the veteran for a recent workout, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Arriving in the NFL as a UDFA back in 2014, Williams catching on with another team would make him the rare 30-something runner — amid a tough offseason for the position — still going in 2023. Williams turned 31 this offseason and has not worked as a regular starter since before his 2020 COVID-19 opt-out call.

The Falcons released the eight-year veteran from IR, via injury settlement, rather than factor him into decisions regarding the eight-activation limit. Tyler Allgeier had seized control of Atlanta’s backfield by that point. Williams, who suffered a rib injury last year, did not catch on anywhere else last year and ended up taking just two handoffs in 2022.

Also having spent time with the Bears, Chiefs and Dolphins, the Oklahoma alum is best known for his stint in Kansas City. Moving into a starting role not long after the Chiefs waived Kareem Hunt midway through the 2018 season, Williams totaled 10 touchdowns during the ’18 and ’19 postseasons combined. This included a two-score Super Bowl LIV performance that had some calling for MVP consideration. The 5-foot-11 back averaged 5.1 yards per tote in 2018 and 4.5 in 2019. But the Chiefs, who had drafted Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the 2020 first round, ended up cutting Williams shortly after the 2020 season ended.

The Bears gave Williams 40 carries in 2021, when he worked as a David Montgomery backup. Although Williams has only totaled 58 touches during the 2020s, that could work in his favor as he attempts to play another season. For his career, Williams still has only 490 regular-season touches.

Most running backs tied to upper-market contracts were connected to pay cuts or releases this offseason; the Buccaneers were among those, ditching Leonard Fournette‘s $7MM-AAV deal a year after authorizing it. The Cardinals, however, did not touch James Conner‘s $7MM-per-year pact. Conner leads Arizona’s backfield, which is lacking for a proven backup. Corey Clement, Ty’Son Williams and 2022 sixth-rounder Keaontay Ingram are in place behind Conner. Ex-Williams Chiefs teammate Darrel Williams, who signed a one-year Cardinals deal in 2022, is no longer with the team.

Falcons Activate OL Elijah Wilkinson From IR, Designate OL Matt Hennessy For Return

Still in the mix for their first NFC South title since 2016, the Falcons made some moves on offense Monday. Multiple offensive linemen are moving back into the picture for the run-oriented squad.

The Falcons activated Elijah Wilkinson from IR and designated Matt Hennessy for return. Even after Wilkinson’s activation, the Falcons still have five injury-return moves remaining. Hennessy has been out of action since Week 9; Wilkinson since Week 8.

[RELATED: Falcons To Place Marcus Mariota On IR]

After a multiyear run as a Broncos spot starter, when he was primarily asked to fill in for Ja’Wuan James due to the latter’s 2019 injury and 2020 opt-out, Wilkinson landed with the Bears last season. Chicago used Wilkinson as a starter just once in 2021, but he won Atlanta’s left guard job out of training camp this year. Wilkinson, 27, has started all seven games he has played this season. A knee injury halted that stretch.

Atlanta’s starting center from 2020-21, Hennessy lost his job to Drew Dalman ahead of this season. The third-year blocker filled in for Wilkinson at guard in Week 9. The Falcons have run out four starting left guards this season. Hennessy, Colby Gossett and ex-Jet Chuma Edoga have seen time since Wilkinson’s injury. The 5-8 team will be better-positioned at this spot in Week 15, particularly if it activates Hennessy by Saturday’s deadline. The Falcons let Jalen Mayfield‘s IR-return window close last week, ending the former third-round pick’s season.

Although the Falcons are in good shape for IR activations, they released Damien Williams from their injured list Monday. The veteran running back, who joined Wilkinson in coming over from the Bears (along with ex-Chicago GM Ryan Pace) this offseason, has been out since September due to a rib injury. Williams is believed to be healthy, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Williams, 30, worked as the Chiefs’ top backfield option between Kareem Hunt and Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s Kansas City stays and played a major role in the team’s Super Bowl LIV-winning push. Williams scored 10 touchdowns between the 2018 and ’19 postseasons. The Chiefs released Williams in 2021, after a COVID-19 opt-out, and he logged 40 carries alongside David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert last season. The Falcons have turned to Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley more in Williams’ absence, and both young players will not see a Williams activation disrupt their roles.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/17/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Promoted from practice squad: CB Daryl WorleyWR Raleigh Webb

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Falcons Place RB Damien Williams On IR

The depth in the Falcons’ running game will be tested somewhat over the next several weeks. The team announced on Saturday that Damien Williams has been placed on IR due to a rib injury, meaning that he will miss at least the next four games. 

Williams, 30, spent the first four years of his career in Miami. He operated strictly as a rotational rusher and special teamer, never registering a start. A much more productive, two-year stint in Kansas City followed, where he racked up over 1,100 scrimmage yards and 13 total touchdowns. The former UDFA put up less impressive numbers last season with the Bears.

As a free agent, Williams signed a one-year deal with the Falcons, whose front office now includes ex-Bears GM Ryan Pace. That provided the team with an experienced back to make up for the departure of Mike Davis, following his release. In his Falcons debut last week against the Saints, Williams received just a pair of carries and totaled two yards.

Atlanta will be able to move forward with Cordarrelle Patterson as their lead back in Williams’ absence, of course, but they will now exclusively rely on inexperienced options below him on the depth chart. 2021 fifth-rounder Avery Williamsas well as rookies Tyler Allgeier and practice squad elevation Caleb Huntley will operate as Patterson’s backups on Sunday.

With 120 rushing yards and a touchdown in the team’s season opener, Patterson may not need much in the way of support when the Falcons visit the Rams, or for the next several contests after that. If he does, though, the team will be missing one of its more experienced offensive contributors.

Falcons Notes: QB Camp Reps, RB, NT Competitions

For the first time since 2008, the Falcons will have a starting quarterback not named Matt Ryan when the upcoming season begins. The team added Marcus Mariota as a short-term solution at the position, then drafted Desmond Ridder as a long-term option to succeed him.

The former has starting experience dating back to his time with the Titans, and will look to establish himself as a No. 1 again after two years as a backup with the Raiders. The latter, meanwhile, had an historic career at Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to the CFP playoffs in 2021. Their lack of a track record at the NFL level made the Falcons a candidate to add a camp arm, but the team is investing fully in their top two passers.

As detailed by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, training camp reps will be split between Mariota and Ridder, with Feleipe Franks primarily focusing on his transition to TE. “When you look at it in terms of the quarterbacks for live periods of practice, there is not a lot [of] taxing amount of periods where the ball is being thrown,” said offensive coordinator Dave Ragone when speaking about a concentrated workload for the pair. With little expected of the team in 2022, dividing the reps only two ways is a sensible step for the Falcons as they search for a new franchise signal-caller.

Here are a few other notes from the Peach State, both from Ledbetter’s positional breakdowns:

  • The Falcons ranked 31st in the league in rushing last season, so their attempts at improving their ground game will be the subject of much attention this year. Cordarrelle Patterson is set to return, after he totalled a career-best 1,166 scrimmage yards in 2021. He will not enter camp as the undisputed No. 1 back, however; RBs coach Mike Pitre said that there will be a “wide open” competition involving the veteran Swiss Army knife, free agent signing Damien Williamsand younger options like rookie Tyler Allgeier and Avery Williamswho is converting from cornerback. Head coach Arthur Smith did add, however, that the Falcons will “continue to try to enhance ” Patterson’s overall role in the offense.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, nose tackle will be another positional battle to watch. Either Vincent Taylor 0r Anthony Rush will earn a starting spot alongside Grady Jarrett in the heart of the d-line. Eddie Goldman was the most experienced option for a first-team role until his unexpected retirement decision was confirmed earlier this week. Taylor and Rush have each bounced around to multiple teams in their careers, but will have an opportunity for significant snaps in their debut seasons with the Falcons, who ranked 27th against the run in 2021.

Falcons Sign RB Damien Williams

Damien Williams is taking his talents to Atlanta. The free agent running back is signing with the Falcons, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).

Williams is inking a one-year deal with Atlanta. Doug Kyed of PFF tweets that the deal is worth $1.62MM, including a $500K signing bonus. ESPN’s Field Yates tweeted earlier today that the running back was set to meet with the Falcons organization.

The 29-year-old spent the 2021 season with the Bears, but his numbers were a far cry from what he put up during his stint with the Chiefs. After collecting 1,127 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in two years with Kansas City, Williams finished 2021 with only 267 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in 12 games (two starts). However, the RB clearly made an impression on former Bears GM Ryan Pace, who is now working in Atlanta’s front office.

Williams spent the first four seasons of his career with the Dolphins. It’s been a while, but the RB also had a stint as a kick returner during his time in Miami.

In Atlanta, Williams will be joining a depth chart that was led by free agent Cordarrelle Patterson last season. At the moment, Atlanta has Mike Davis, Qadree Ollison, and Caleb Huntley under contract.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/23/21

Here is the run of Week 7 Saturday minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Promoted: LB Darius Harris, LB Christian Rozeboom
  • Placed on IR: TE Jody Fortson

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team