3 former Detroit Lions who failed with their new teams in 2023

These former Detroit Lions did not do well elsewhere last season.

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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1. RB Jamaal Williams

At this time a year ago, after he set the single-season franchise record for rushing touchdowns, a strong segment of Lions' fans could not fathom the idea of Williams leaving in free agency. To paraphrase some Facebook comments, "They like him and they'll pay him", "He likes it here", "He'll take less to stay", they said.

Then contract talks were apparently going nowhere, and the Lions quickly pivoted to David Montgomery. It's safe to say that worked out nicely, as should have been easy to see with Montgomery sheerly being a more talented running back.

Williams ultimately signed a three-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. And perhaps in a show of his true colors, he took an opportunity to criticize the Lions in his first meeting with the media in New Orleans.

"The offer they gave me, I felt like was disrespectful and showing that they really didn’t want me to be there like that.”But it’s all love (for Detroit). Like, I know my teammates, everybody there at the Detroit Lions got love for me and all that. But, at the same time, we couldn’t come to terms and — it’s just funny, that’s all.”

There were conflicting reports about what the Lions' offer to Williams was. Kyle Meinke of MLive reported it wasn't close to what the Saints gave him, while Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press had reported previously it was basically the same deal Montgomery took.

During that initial press conference in New Orleans, Williams added he was "eager to prove himself because "so many people seem to have an idea of what kind of running back he is."

Williams missed four games early last season with a hamstring injury. Leaving that aside, he averaged 2.9 yards per carry (106 carries for 306 yards) in the 13 games he played, and there was no "revenge game" against the Lions in Week 13 (five carries for 10 yards). On top of that, the effort to get him his lone touchdown of the season late in a Week 18 blowout win over the Falcons was the subject of some controversy.

Williams clearly had his career year with the Lions in 2022. As a running back getting a little up in years, he absolutely should have seen what else was out there on the free agent market. Then he felt the need to call the Lions' offer to him disrespectful, and he further called out others who had " an idea" what kind of running back he is.

If we didn't know it before, we now know what kind of running back Williams is; a limited, mediocre one who benefitted greatly from running behind the Lions' offensive line. A rough first season with the Saints was fitting, and a bit of karma after he called out the Lions for not giving him what he felt he deserved.

Next. 5 potential pivots for Detroit Lions if Graham Glasgow leaves in free agency. 5 potential pivots for Detroit Lions if Graham Glasgow leaves in free agency. dark