Sylvester Williams

Saints Sign DT Sylvester Williams

The Saints have signed defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, according to a team announcement. The former first-round pick auditioned for the Saints way back in October and showed enough during this month’s rookie minicamp to earn a deal. 

Williams was an All-American at North Carolina, which helped him become a first round pick of the Broncos back in 2013. Williams spent the first four years of his career with Denver, but didn’t have his fifth-year option picked up. He signed a three-year pact with the Titans, but was released after just one year. After stops in Detroit and Miami, he’ll try to get back on track in New Orleans.

Between Miami and Detroit, Williams appeared in 14 games last season, including four starts. He’s managed to be a decent run-stuffer in the past, and is still only 30. The Saints had one of the league’s best defensive lines and run defenses last year, but standout defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles right at the end of the year, so Williams could offer some value as a depth addition.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sylvester Williams Gets Try Out From Saints

A former big name is resurfacing this week. Defensive tackle Sylvester Williams is joining the Saints’ rookie minicamp as a tryout player.

Williams was an All-American at North Carolina, which helped him become a first round pick of the Broncos back in 2013. Williams spent the first four years of his career with Denver, but didn’t have his fifth-year option picked up. He signed a three-year pact with the Titans, but was released after just one year.

He then got a one-year, $3.5MM deal from the Lions, but he was released in October of last year. He then signed with the Dolphins and spent the remainder of the season in Miami. The Saints worked him out last year after Detroit cut him, so there’s some familiarity there.

Between Miami and Detroit he appeared in 14 games last season, making four starts. He’s managed to be a decent run-stuffer in the past, and is still only 30. The Saints had one of the league’s best defensive lines and run defenses last year, but standout defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles right at the end of the year. He might not be ready for next season, and the Saints could use some depth. It wouldn’t be shocking if Williams were signed after the minicamp.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Sign DT Sylvester Williams

The Dolphins announced the signing of defensive tackle Sylvester Williams on Wednesday morning. They’ve also activated linebacker Mike Hull off injured reserve, giving the front seven a bit of a midseason lift. 

Williams started eleven games and made 15 total appearances for the Titans last year, his first campaign outside of Denver since the Broncos made him a first-round pick in 2014. He was strong against the run in 2017, but he didn’t fare well with the Lions this year. Last week, Detroit cut him loose after trading for Damon Harrison.

At the time of his release, Williams ranked as Pro Football Focus’ No. 78 overall defensive tackle in the league with a subpar score for run defense. He didn’t fill the traditional stat sheet much either with six tackles in six games.

Last season, Williams played on roughly a third of the Titans’ defensive snaps, good for third-most among the club’s defensive linemen. Pro Football Focus gave him high marks against the run and some not-so-great marks for his work on passing downs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/30/18

Here’s the latest from the workout circuit. All links to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account, unless otherwise specified.

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

NFL Workout Updates: 10/26/18

Here are today’s reported tryouts:

Denver Broncos

  • P Brock Miller

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints have had some injuries on the defensive line recently, so it makes sense why they’d bring in this group. With this large of an amount of players brought in, they will likely be signing someone soon. The Buccaneers are clearly evaluating their kicking options after Chandler Catanzaro has struggled to start the year. He made a game-winning 59-yard field goal in overtime last week, but missed an extra point and a 40-yarder at the end of regulation before that. Both Ficken and Santos have kicked for the Rams this season.

Lions Cut DT Sylvester Williams

The Lions released defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, per a team announcement. Williams joined the team on a one-year, $3.5MM contract this offseason, but he was not longer needed after the acquisition of Damon Harrison.

Williams started eleven games and made 15 total appearances for the Titans last year, his first campaign outside of Denver since the Broncos made him a first-round pick in 2014. He was strong against the run in 2017, but in Detroit he’s looked more like a matador than a defensive lineman. Williams currently ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 78 overall defensive tackle in the league with a subpar score for run D.,He didn’t fill the traditional stat sheet much either with six tackles in six games.

Given his pedigree and experience in both 3-4 and 4-3 sets, Williams figures to draw interest from teams in need of defensive line help.

Contract Details: Burnett, Bodine, Williams

Let’s take a look at the most recent new contracts around the NFL:

AFC

NFC

Lions Sign DT Sylvester Williams

Former Titans nose tackle Sylvester Williams is signing with the Lions on a one-year deal, reports Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com (Twitter links). The Lions have since confirmed the signing via press release.

The Lions have been on the lookout for defensive tackles and in contact with some of the best interior linemen left, including Williams. He’ll take over for Haloti Ngata, who left in free agency to sign with the Eagles.

Williams started eleven games and made 15 total appearances for the Titans in 2017, his first campaign outside of Denver since the Broncos made him a first-round pick in 2014. Last season, Williams played on roughly a third of the Titans’ defensive snaps, good for third-most among the club’s defensive linemen. Pro Football Focus gave him high marks against the run and some not-so-great marks for his work on passing downs.

The Lions were said to have agreed to a deal with fellow defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois on Wednesday, but there’s now conflicting word on that front. The addition of Williams may or may not have an impact on Jean-Francois’ potential deal with Detroit.

Before signing with the Lions, Williams took a visit with the Redskins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Searching For Defensive Tackles

The Lions are scouring the defensive tackle market. They’re expected to bring in free agents Johnathan Hankins and Alan Branch for visits and former Titans defensive tackle Sylvester Williams is also on their radar, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Meanwhile, they’re working on a deal with former Pats defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

The Lions project to start A’Shawn Robinson and Akeem Spence on the interior defensive line, but they’re a little thin in support. Last year’s sixth-round pick Jeremiah Ledbetter and former UDFA Toby Johnson are the only other DTs on the roster as of this writing. It’s possible that the Lions will look to sign two or more of the aforementioned quartet of free agent defensive tackles to pad out the depth chart.

Given GM Bob Quinn‘s ties to the Patriots, Jean-Francois would be a logical signing for Detroit. Hankins, meanwhile, might be the most intriguing talent of the bunch given his success in the Giants’ 4-3 scheme from 2013-2016. Last year, he also performed well in the Colts’ 3-4 defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Host DT Sylvester Williams

The Redskins hosted free agent defensive lineman Sylvester Williams on Tuesday, according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link), while the club also has interest in fellow defensive tackle Bennie Logan but has yet to schedule a visit, per John Keim of ESPN.com.

Washington is clearly seeking to improve the interior of its defensive line after ranking 29th in rush defense DVOA and dead last in adjusted line yards in 2017. Williams and Logan join Johnathan Hankins as notable defensive tackles on the Redskins’ radar, as the former Colts defender met with the club on Sunday. Keim recently reported Washington isn’t interested in investing heavily in it defensive line, but Williams and Logan could each be available on one-year deals.

The Redskins are “working hard” to sign Hankins, tweets Finlay, so Williams and/or Logan might not be of interest to the club for much longer. On the other hand, neither of Washington’s 2017 defensive tackle additions — Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain — made much of an impact during their respective first seasons in the nation’s capital, so one or both could be released.

Indeed, Washington altered the contract of defensive tackle McClain in a way that will make him easier to release, as Keim writes. Previously, McClain’s $3.25MM base salary was scheduled to become fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 league year, but Washington has since made that salary guaranteed for injury only. As such, the Redskins should be able to cut McClain at any point prior to the start of the regular season without being on the hook for his salary (provided he doesn’t get injured between now and then).

Williams, meanwhile, started 11 games and made 15 total appearances for the Titans in 2017, his first campaign outside of Denver since the Broncos made him a first-round pick in 2014. Last season, Williams played on roughly a third of Tennessee’s defensive snaps (third-most among the club’s defensive linemen) while posting 12 tackles. Pro Football Focus graded him as the league’s No. 67 interior defender among 122 qualifiers, assigning much better marks against the run than the pass.

Logan, 28, has caught the Redskins’ eye in the past, as he took a meeting with the team last spring before ultimately landing a one-year, $8MM pact from the Chiefs. Washington should have a good idea of Logan’s capabilities, as he played against the Redskins twice per year as a member of the Eagles from 2013-16. Last season, Logan appeared in 15 games and played on 55% of Kansas City’s defensive snaps, acting as a serviceable run-stuffer during that time. Washington could have competition for Logan, as he met with Seattle earlier today.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.