NFL Free Agency: Ricky Williams Could Fill Out New England Patriots Backfield

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJuly 14, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Ricky Williams #34 of the Miami Dolphins walks down the tunnel for their game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 28, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One position that the New England Patriots are pretty much stocked up on is running back, so we must assume that they'll likely not target any free-agent running backs. 

The Patriots will likely enter 2011 with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. However, there's always room for a veteran presence—someone like Ricky Williams

There is no guarantee that Vereen and Ridley will be able to contribute in 2011, as they'll both be playing in their rookie years, so adding a quality veteran runner like Williams may be a wise decision on New England's part. 

Williams, who recently turned 34, is set to become a free agent, once the NFL lockout is lifted, and should gather quite the handful of offers—potentially from Bill Belichick and the Patriots. 

Following the Miami Dolphins' season finale against the Patriots, Williams shared some rather unkind words regarding his head coach and the Dolphins after the team's embarrassing 38-7 loss. 

"It’s the contrast with what they have going on in New England and what we have going on here, and it’s a very stark contrast,” Williams told WQAM-560's Sid Rosenberg. “They had less to play for than we did and they played harder than any team we played all year, and I just expect that from my team."

Williams then concluded his interview with stating that playing under head coach Tony Sparano is "not a great fit for me."

It is almost certain that Williams is motivated for a Super Bowl ring, as he's entering the tail end of his career. However, he appears to still have something left in his tank. 

Over the past three seasons with Miami, Williams managed to suit up for all 16 games and scored a tremendous total of 16 touchdowns—not too shabby considering that he was splitting carries with Ronnie Brown. 

Williams averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season, which isn't quite from Green-Ellis' average of 4.4 yards per carry. 

Just with a quick glance at New England's depth chart, you may jump to conclusion that there is no room for Williams—but there can be.

The Patriots would roll out with Williams and Green-Ellis splitting the majority of the typical "lead-back" carries with Woodhead as the third-down and change-of-pace back. Meanwhile, Vereen and Ridley would certainly benefit from watching Williams, who's accumulated many achievements during his 10-year career. 

However, keep in mind that New England still could choose to re-sign veterans Kevin Faulk, Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris, which would certainly rule out any potential Williams signing. 

With the running backs that New England are set to roll with in 2011, there is a definite chance that they can become on of the better rushing teams, and could certainly live without the addition of Williams.

However, if Williams does end up wearing a Pats uniform next season, then New England could potential turn into not only a dynamic rushing team, but a dynamic offensive attack. 


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