It feels inevitable he’ll just re-sign, but one of these five teams could sign Jamaal Williams away from the Detroit Lions in free agency.
After a solid first season with the Detroit Lions in 2021 (601 rushing yards), Jamaal Williams took it to another level in 2022. He was the franchise’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2013 (1,066 yards), and he set the franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a season (17).
But Williams has also played out his two-year deal with the Lions, and he’ll hit the free agent market off the best year of his career. He continues to say he wants to re-sign, and on Super Bowl radio row he talked about the team as if he’ll be sticking around.
On ESPN’s “First Take”:
"It don’t matter. We taking the North. The change has started. The tide of the season change, it has started.”"
With Tim Twentyman of the Lions website:
"I really just want to stay with Detroit, if I can,” “Really just stay here and make my mark here. I really want to finish (my career) here if I could. “I understand it’s a business and the team has to do what’s best for them and I have to do what’s best for me, too, but I just really want us to come to a mutual agreement and just get it done and just get back to playing football.”"
It’s fair to assume the Lions want Williams back just as much as he’d like to stay. He will get a raise from the two-year, $6 million deal he signed with Detroit on 2021. Spotrac is currently projecting his market value at just under $4.2 million per year on a two-year deal.
It’s a deep free agent running back class, with moving parts that will fill and create openings. Williams can’t just re-sign with the Lions, without seeing what the market may have for him. Well he can, but the business side says he shouldn’t. He’ll turn 28 in April, and even with less wear-and-tear than some backs his age this may be his last shot at a multi-year deal.
If Williams entertains the idea of leaving the Lions, and in a personal big picture sense he should, these five teams should have interest.