Jonathan Williams Released by Buffalo Bills After 1 Season with Team

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2017

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 20:  Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Jonathan Williams #31 of the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Buffalo defeated Cincinnati 16-12. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Jonathan Williams appeared ready to be the Buffalo Bills' No. 2 running back this season, but he was instead released Sunday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The 2016 fifth-round pick rushed for 94 yards on 27 carries last season, although the departure of Mike Gillislee opened things up for him to play more behind starter LeSean McCoy. It's clear the Bills have decided to go in a different direction.

The transaction was met with plenty of surprise:

With the Bills also cutting running back Jordan Johnson, Joe Banyard becomes the next man up on the depth chart, while fullback Mike Tolbert should also get carries. Veteran Taiwan Jones—who also has experience playing special teams—remains on the roster as well, although the organization could look to add a running back from the recently expanded free-agent pool.

Williams had impressed when given the opportunity this preseason, rushing for 121 yards on 21 carries, good for 5.8 yards per attempt. He also added a touchdown in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions

Unfortunately, a knee injury kept him out of the third preseason game, which is usually considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season. This was apparently enough for Banyard to pass him on the depth chart while making Williams expendable.

Having rushed for 1,190 yards in 2014 for Arkansas, the 23-year-old still has plenty of upside. This could allow him an opportunity in another location at some point this season.