It’s a scary thought that the Super Bowl is just five days away, and with that free agency looms near. The Lions’ front office has a lot of decisions to make regarding resigning former players. None garner this conversation more than phenom running back Jamaal Williams. Williams’ breakout in his 6th year was unexpected, yet he rushed for 1066 yards and a career and franchise high of 17 touchdowns. His physical and hardnose running style allowed him to be unstoppable on the goal line, and he could also break off some long runs. Due to his monster season, Williams might ask for big money. Is this the best option for the Lions? Here we break it down and try to see what Brad Holmes will do with his choices.
Williams’s current deal with the Lions on a two year 6,000,000 dollar deal, including a 1,250,000 signing bonus. This deal falls at 22nd on AAV and 29th on total value according to Spotrac. Assuming that Williams wants more than the deal he was currently on, he could ask for up to 4-6 million dollars a year, which would jump him into the top 10. If this is how Willams wants to play it, Holmes shouldn’t agree to this deal. It’s a massive overpay on a player that primarily benefited from the system. In the NFL, Superbowl teams in past years have never had a running back in their payroll over 1,500,000 million/year. This trend continues this year as Miles Sanders and Isiah Pacheco both fall under this list. Cheap running backs in the NFL is the best option for teams, and the Lions have D’Andre Swift. Cheap and talented, Swift falls under the category of Super Bowl running back. This leaves an opportunity to save some cash to spend elsewhere.
If Williams commits to what he’s been saying to the media, like he actively wants to stay in Detroit and will reap the consequences, he’s a must to bring back. He fits Dan Campbell’s culture so well and loves this team, it’s a match made in heaven. If we can keep him on his current deal of around 3,000,000 a year for a short contract, or even go down to 2,000,000 on a longer 4-year deal. This is a long shot, but if it becomes a reality, Holmes should snap it up instantly.
While it seems like Williams will be paid more elsewhere, his services in Detroit will be praised for years to come, and he’s a model for guys like Swift to look up to and take hints out of his game. The Lions will probably bring in another cheap running back because Swift is yet to stay healthy for a full season. Wherever Williams ends up, Detroit will be wishing him luck (besides the Packers, Vikings or Bears)