Preston Williams

Panthers Add DL Henry Anderson, WR Preston Williams

After not making the Patriots’ 53-man roster, Henry Anderson landed another opportunity. The Panthers signed the veteran defensive lineman Monday.

An interior D-lineman who has spent time with the Colts, Jets and Patriots, Anderson has seven years’ experience. Much of that came as a starter. Anderson, 31, has started 43 games as a pro. He will join a Panthers defensive line that houses Derrick Brown and free agency addition Matthew Ioannidis as its top interior players.

The team also reached an agreement Monday to bring in former Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams. While Anderson landed on Carolina’s active roster, Williams is joining the team’s practice squad. The Dolphins waived Williams last week.

Williams follows Laviska Shenault as new Panther receiver additions. The latter landed in Charlotte via trade from Jacksonville. A former UDFA who had begun to play a key role for the Dolphins as a rookie, Williams has battled injuries in years since. Miami adding the likes of Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson Jr. this offseason, which came a year after the franchise traded up to No. 6 overall for Jaylen Waddle, led to Williams not making the cut.

Anderson spent three seasons with the Colts and Jets, respectively, and tallied a career-high seven sacks for Gang Green in 2018. The Stanford alum has otherwise been known more as a run defender. Sack stats did not continue for Anderson in New York, but he did combine for seven tackles for loss from 2019-20. The Patriots signed the 6-foot-6 defender to a two-year, $7MM deal in 2021. A pectoral injury sustained in October of last year ended his season, however.

Williams totaled 32 catches for 428 yards in eight 2019 games, but an ACL tear ended that run. A former Shenault teammate at Colorado State, Williams could not re-establish himself in Miami. A foot injury halted his 2020 season after eight games, and he only played in eight contests last year. The Dolphins shopped Williams this summer and received inquiries. But no trade came. The 6-5 pass catcher will look to work his way onto Carolina’s active roster soon.

Dolphins To Cut WRs Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden

Both Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden came up in recent trade rumors, but no deals emerged. Instead, each young wide receiver is now on the waiver wire.

The Dolphins cut both on Tuesday, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter links). Miami’s trade inquiries did not fall entirely on deaf ears, at least in Williams’ case. Multiple teams reached out about the former UDFA, Pelissero adds. But he can now be acquired via waiver claim.

One year remains on Williams’ contract, while Bowden’s rookie deal has two years left. Williams, whose NFL path has been a bit complicated based on his rookie-year offseason, has two years left on his initial NFL deal.

The Raiders drafted Bowden in the 2020 third round but traded him to the Dolphins before he played a down in Las Vegas. The gadget-type weapon was one of many 2020 Raider draftees not to be long for the organization. He caught 28 passes for 211 yards for the Dolphins as a rookie but did not play in 2021.

Williams emerged as a quick study in 2019, when he caught 32 passes for 428 yards in just eight games. That Dolphins team was light at receiver alongside DeVante Parker, but it became even lighter when Williams suffered a torn ACL. Williams has never seen his value restored since that injury, and the Lisfranc problem he encountered in 2020 compounded his health issues. Over the past two seasons, Williams has not matched his rookie-year yardage total.

The Dolphins, who nontendered Williams as an RFA this year before re-signing him at a reduced rate, also added some talent at receiver (Tyreek Hill, Cedrick Wilson Jr.) this offseason.

AFC East Notes: Williams, Bills, Sauce, Jets

Mentioned as dangling Preston Williams in trades earlier this month, the Dolphins have not ruled out adding an asset for the young wide receiver. Williams is generating some trade interest, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets, but this looks like a situation that will either produce a deal for a late-round pick or Williams being waived before rosters are finalized Tuesday. Teams have until 3pm CT tomorrow to cut to 53. The Dolphins made some adjustments at receiver this offseason, trading for Tyreek Hill and adding Cedrick Wilson Jr. The team already cut Mohamed Sanu on Monday, however, potentially keeping the door open for Williams to stick as a backup. Williams emerged as a key target for the skeleton-crew 2019 Dolphins edition, but his rookie-year ACL tear threw his career off course. He has just 359 receiving yards over the past two seasons.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • In the wake of the Bills jettisoning embattled punter Matt Araiza, they have gotten to work on finding his replacement. Michael Palardy, Ty Long, Tyler Newsome and Joseph Charlton worked out for the team, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. None have been signed. Two of these punters, as it often goes with the Bills, have Panthers histories. Though, Palardy — a Carolina punter from 2016-19 — is the only one with ties to Buffalo’s Brandon BeaneSean McDermott duo. Charlton was Carolina’s punter in 2020, long after the Bills had hired Beane and McDermott. These workouts also came before two veteran punters — Brett Kern and Sam Martin — were informed of their respective releases by the Titans and Broncos. The Colts signed the punter the Bills recently waived (Matt Haack) last week.
  • Bills left tackle Dion Dawkins created some cap space for his team recently, restructuring his contract. Dawkins’ reworking created more than $5.6MM in space for the Bills, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Bills moved Dawkins’ 2022 base salary down to $1MM and added two void years to spread out his cap hits, per OverTheCap. Dawkins remains signed through 2024; the Bills hold just more than $11MM in cap space.
  • The Jets will not spend any regular-season time developing Sauce Gardner as a backup. The No. 4 overall pick will be a Week 1 starter, Robert Saleh said. Gardner’s expected ascent will move Bryce Hall to a backup role, with the Jets also having signed D.J. Reed in free agency.
  • Isaiah Wynn looks to remain available in trades for a Patriots team that has moved him to right tackle. Additionally, when Trent Brown re-signed with New England, he was not made aware the organization was planning to move him back to the left side.

Dolphins Shopping WRs Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden Jr.

The Dolphins have made a number of additions at the receiver position this offseason, leaving them with the possibility of a roster crunch at the end of the summer. In advance of potentially having to move on from some depth options, the team is looking to get any compensation it can before cutdowns. 

[RELATED: Dolphins Trade TE Shaheen To Texans]

Miami has “talked to other teams about potentially moving” Preston Williams and Lynn Bowden Jr., reports Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. The pair were in line for rotational roles before the offseason began, but face an even steeper path to significant playing time after the Dolphins’ additions of Tyreek Hill via trade, Cedrick Wilson and Mohamed Sanu in free agency and Erik Ezukanma in the fourth round of the draft.

Williams took to Twitter last week to show his frustration with the lack of opportunity he is likely to receive if he remains in Miami. The 25-year-old flashed potential as a rookie with 428 yards and three touchdowns, but has seen his playing time decrease since. The former UDFA has intriguing size (six-foot-five, 220 pounds) and has one season remaining on his contract at a cap hit of less than $1.3MM.

Bowden came to the Dolphins in a much different fashion to Williams, but is now in a similar situation. After a unique college career at Kentucky which saw him produce as a returner, receiver and passer, he was traded from the Raiders before his rookie season began. During that campaign, he totaled 243 scoreless scrimmage yards; a hamstring injury kept sidelined for 2021. His skillset would likely be made redundant in what is expected to be a run-after-catch based offense, given the presence of not only Hill, but 2021 first-rounder Jaylen Waddle as well.

Given their lack of NFL success, the return Miami would receive for either player would be minimal. Still, they will be names to watch as the offseason continues.

Latest On Dolphins WR Preston Williams

The Dolphins have been one of the most aggressive teams this offseason with respect to offensive additions. Their receiving corps has been augmented both via trade and free agency, leaving one of their incumbent wideouts unhappy with his projected role. 

Preston Williams took to Twitter last night to state that he “just want[s] [an] opportunity” (link). His largest workload came in his rookie season, when he started seven of the eight games he played in. He turned 32 catches into 428 yards and three touchdowns that year. His appearance and start totals remained the same in 2020, but his playing time, targets and receptions all dropped off significantly.

This past season, Williams saw the field for a career-low 32% of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps. The limited role, along with an historic rookie campaign by Jaylen Waddle, led to the six-foot-five, 220-pounder recording just six catches. It came as little surprise when the Dolphins declined to tender the former UDFA, but they still brought him back on a one-year deal this offseason.

This season, the Colorado State alum faces a long list of competitors for targets in Miami’s offense. Waddle will be joined as a starter by Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson at the position. Franchise-tagged tight end Mike Gesicki has also established himself as a dependable option in the passing game, so Williams is likely in store for a repeat of 2021 in terms of usage. His age (25), size and efficiency (14.1 yards per catch average) could, on the other hand, make him an intriguing target for outside teams either via trade this year of free agency next spring.

Dolphins To Re-Sign Preston Williams

The Dolphins will re-sign Preston Williams to a one-year deal (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Williams can earn up to $1.99MM on the contract, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Dolphins To Sign Wilson]

Williams joined the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He’s since appeared in 24 games for Miami, notching 56 grabs for 787 yards and seven touchdowns. Williams has impressed at times, including his rookie year when he managed 32 receptions for 428 yards and three TDs in eight games.

Still, injuries and other issues have sidetracked him. That aforementioned rookie year ended with an ACL tear and his 2021 was cut short by a foot injury. Williams has played in exactly eight games in each of his three seasons, losing ground on the depth chart with time. As a result, the Dolphins were hesitant to cuff the restricted free agent with a $2.6MM tender.

Now that he’s back in the fold, he’ll fight for playing time alongside WRs DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, and Cedrick Wilson.

Dolphins Unlikely To Tender WR Preston Williams?

After going undrafted in the 2019 draft, wideout Preston Williams has managed to play in 24 games for the Dolphins over the past three seasons. Despite his role, it sounds like the Dolphins will let the impending restricted free agency test his value. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are “more likely” to decline Williams’ $2.6MM tender, which would make him an unrestricted free agent.

The Colorado State product caught on with the Dolphins following the 2019 draft, and he had a standout rookie campaign in 2019, finishing with 32 receptions for 428 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, a torn ACL ended his season after only eight games (seven starts). Williams got into eight games (seven starts) again during his sophomore season, finishing with 18 receptions for 288 yards and four touchdowns, but a foot injury cut short his year.

The 24-year-old found himself buried on the depth chart in 2021. He (once against) got into eight games, finishing with only six catches.

Just because the Dolphins likely won’t be tendering the receiver, it doesn’t mean he won’t be back. Not including Williams, Miami has four wideouts hitting unrestricted free agency (Will Fuller, Albert Wilson, Isaiah Ford, Mack Hollins), and veteran Allen Hurns has a non-guaranteed contract.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/3/22

Here are Monday’s activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OT Mike Remmers (remains on IR)

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: RB Raymond Calais (remains on IR)

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Dolphins Activate Preston Williams, Elandon Roberts From PUP List

After spending three weeks on the Dolphins’ active/PUP list to start training camp, Preston Williams and Elandon Roberts are practicing with the team again. The Dolphins activated the third-year wide receiver and sixth-year linebacker Thursday.

Both players return to position groups that have seen big changes this offseason. After going through the 2020 season thin at wide receiver, the Dolphins added Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle. And Albert Wilson has impressed his first training camp post-opt-out. Miami also traded Shaq Lawson for longtime Texans inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney.

The Dolphins used Roberts as an 11-game starter last season, though the former Patriot’s initial Miami slate proved a bit rocky. Pro Football Focus graded Roberts as its worst full-time linebacker in 2020, but his coverage issues largely contributed to this assessment. The Dolphins re-signed the run-stuffing ‘backer in March, doing so after trading for McKinney. Roberts suffered a late-season knee injury that ended up requiring surgery that put his Week 1 status in doubt. He might now be trending upward for Miami’s opener.

Williams has run into multiple bad injury breaks. An ACL tear halted the former UDFA’s promising rookie season, and the Colorado State product’s 2020 campaign also stopped at the eight-game mark. Williams has spent the past several months rehabbing a Lisfranc issue, one that placed his Week 1 status in doubt as well. The 6-foot-5 wideout has produced in limited time, hauling in 50 receptions for 716 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 career games, but the Dolphins’ offseason additions at receiver will affect his role.

Both players can no longer be stashed on the Dolphins’ reserve/PUP list to start the season, but each can be placed on IR — so long as they are carried over to the team’s regular-season roster following the preseason — if the team deems them not ready by Week 1. The NFL kept its 2020 IR rules, which allow teams to activate players from IR after three weeks.

Latest On Dolphins’ WRs

For years the Dolphins have lacked quality receivers, but now they actually have an abundance of depth at the position. It’s a good problem to have, but it also means that some solid players could be on the outside looking in when we get to roster cut-downs.

There’s a lot of uncertainty at the position and a lot to sort through, and fortunately Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald just broke it all down. Albert Wilson flashed a ton of potential during his first season with the Dolphins in 2018, but injuries hampered him then and in 2019. He then opted out of the 2020 season, leading many to believe he’d be on the roster bubble this time around. However, it appears that he’s safe. Wilson is “going to be on the team,” Jackson writes, noting he’s been the most consistent receiver in camp.

The same can’t be said for 2020 third-round pick Lynn Bowden. The Kentucky product has “gone from slight front-runner to make the team to very much on the bubble with an underwhelming camp,” despite being the 80th overall pick just last year. In 10 games and four starts last year, Bowden had 28 catches for 211 yards.

Meanwhile, there’s some bad news on Preston Williams. The 2019 UDFA has looked like a diamond in the rough find the past couple years, but he apparently isn’t over the Lisfranc foot injury that cut his 2020 short. Although the team “originally was optimistic that Williams would be fine to start the season,” the Colorado State product now “appears iffy at best” for Week 1.

Jackson writes that Williams is a candidate to start the year on the PUP list, which would sideline him for the first six games. He also says the “odds are against” veteran Allen Hurns making the 53, even though Hurns has $1.2MM in guaranteed money coming his way.

Jackson also expects the Dolphins to be open to a potential trade of Jakeem Grant if a team in need of a returner is willing to part with a late-round pick. In addition to all these guys, Miami still has Will Fuller, DeVante Parker, and rookie first-rounder Jaylen Waddle at the top of the depth chart.