NFL Speculation: Latest DeAngelo Williams Rumors and Whispers
As we the fans go about our daily lives trying to make a living, the owners and players are bickering over how to split $9 billion. I wish I had that problem.
While they try and make this monumental decision on fewer work hours than our Congress, there are still huge questions to be made by star free agents. One player with an important decision to make is running back DeAngelo Williams.
The Carolina Panthers star is the best running back in this free agent class. He was injured last season, but there is no bigger playmaker than a guy who still haunts Jon Gruden. He can run inside, outside, catch, and block. He’ll stiff arm, twist, juke, truck and just make defenders look silly.
His choice is difficult as he loves Carolina and has grown a strong relationship with Jonathan Stewart, forming the only duo to each rush for over 1,100 yards in history.
Unfortunately, the question arises if Williams is worth a new contract with Carolina having Stewart and Mike Goodson, who had performed well in the absence of the duo. The Panthers also have Tyrell Sutton, who can be a contributor.
Does Williams rejoin Stewart to form one of the best backfields in the past 25 years, or does Williams look elsewhere for a shot at a championship and being the featured back?
San Francisco 49ers
Williams along with Gore would make for a dominant duo. There are questions as to Gore’s health, and having Williams would take some of the wear-and-tear off to preserve Gore, allowing him to last longer in the season.
Williams would also allow for a heavier focus on the running game with uncertainty lingering at the quarterback position. Alex Smith may be quarterback and he may not be. It might be more beneficial for Smith to throw less and hand off more.
It’s a common theme in the NFC West, it’s wide open. No one in the West has a good 1-2 running back tandem and if the 49ers were the first, it would certainly give them an edge in the division.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are not a team often heard in the discussion for Williams, but think about it. The Rams have Steven Jackson, but the guy carries the ball close to 400 times each season. That’s a lot of beatings to take.
The Rams need someone to take the load off of Jackson’s shoulders yet still provide explosiveness and due damage. Plus, Williams’ shiftiness and speed complements Jackson’s more downhill and punishing running style.
Sam Bradford is coming along as a quarterback and the receiving corps just received a huge boost through the Draft.
Adding Williams would complete their skill positions, allow for a more balanced attack, and allow more time for the offense to be on the field and more time for the defense to be off it.
The Broncos make a lot of sense for Williams. They have a young back in Knowshon Moreno, but he is coming off an injury and could use some guidance.
Williams would also have the chance to play with Tim Tebow and could be the feature back in former coach John Fox’s run-heavy offense.
Plus, if the Broncos could keep the offense on the field, then that will keep a rebuilding defense off the field.
Similar offense, chance to be the feature back and mentor, and better chances of winning in a comparatively weak division makes Denver a good possibility for Williams to spend the 2011 season.
Williams may be the best back the Colts have had in the Manning era, even better than Edgerrin James. He can catch the ball and block, but Williams would be more dynamic and more of a solid rusher.
With Joseph Addai also a free agent, it is a question of who can be the feature back and would be complemented by Donald Brown’s down-hill running style.
Williams may actually be more dangerous in Peyton’s system, as the defense will be more focused on stopping the pass and even seven-man fronts would be uncommon.
The Colts are consistently bad at rushing and to add a playmaker like Williams would provide the best opportunity for the Colts to get back to the Super Bowl.
Remember, Manning may have won the MVP of their Super Bowl year, but it was Dominic Rhodes and Addai who rushed for close to 160 yards and dominated the playoffs.
The popular choice in the Williams sweepstakes is the Dolphins. With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams being free agents, now is the opportune time to make a change at the position.
Two seasons ago, the Dolphins thrived off of the unusual pairing of Brown and Williams. Brown is a jack-of-all-trades type as he can run, catch, block and even pass. Williams was the prototypical running back with a north-south style, but he could also catch.
They ran the Wildcat to perfection and captured the division. Last season, the Dolphins decided the Wildcat was not good enough and that their offense needed to be more deliberate and professional.
To say this plan backfired would be an understatement as they lost what made them special in the first place.
Williams is probably gone and if Brown is re-signed, it will not be for an every-down role. The Dolphins did draft Daniel Thomas out of Kansas State in the second round, but they need someone to complement Thomas’ physical run style.
Williams brings much of the diversity that Brown brought, but with more explosiveness. Williams will like that he gets to stay in the same part of the country, nice weather, and will be joining an offense with a complete receiver corps.
If Williams does not re-sign with Carolina, this would be the ideal situation but…
In the end, Williams is a Carolina Panther inside and out. He loves it in Carolina, it’s his home, he’s got a great friendship with Stewart and I believe will return.
The Panthers drafted Cameron Newton, who will bring more explosiveness and excitement to the offense. Look what Michael Vick did for Warrick Dunn, that could happen here.
He will have a healthy offensive line, and Newton’s arm and athleticism will keep defenders out of the box and on their toes. Williams will forgive the fact Jim Skipper wasn’t retained and Double Trouble will be together again.
The Panthers have prided themselves on drafting well and retaining those picks that succeed. They did not follow through with Peppers, but they cannot afford to let Williams go, especially since he will bring nothing in return.
They must re-sign him and then do what they feel is best afterwards, but he must not be allowed to just walk away.