NFL Free Agency: 6 Teams That Need DeAngelo Williams
DeAngelo Williams may be the premier running back on the free-agent market now that the lockout is lifted. Unfortunately for him, running back is no longer a premier position in most offenses.
With most teams looking to split carries between two running backs, Williams may not command a large paycheck like he might have in the past, but he will offer significant value to any team that picks him up.
Williams has concerns about his durability having only played a full 16-game season twice in five seasons, but the upside to that is Williams is fresher than most backs who have been in the league for five years.
The Panthers will probably make a big push to keep one of their few big name players but there is a chance that they could choose to move on and let Williams find another team.
Every team could probably use a player like Williams on their roster, but here are six in particular that need him
For a time, it looked like Cedric Benson had finally turned his career around. Posting consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the Bengals it looked like Cincinnati may only need to add a supporting running back.
Then Benson had to have off the field problems this year. The Bengals look to be in complete rebuilding mode and that might mean some house cleaning on their part. A new quarterback and wide receivers, the logical thing is for the Bengals to find a solid running game.
Benson probably doesn't have enough good will built up in the Bengals organization to have them overlook his transgressions. Benson may not be on the roster come opening day, and that would leave a huge hole and potentially make the Bengals the worst team in the league.
Williams would add stability to an offense that may not have some until at least next season.
Name the top two leaders for the Cardinals in rushing last year?
Now guess how many yards they combined for. If you guessed Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells good job. If you knew they combined for 1,133 yards that is impressive. If you knew that Larry Fitzgerald had more receiving yards than they had rushing yards combined that is even more impressive.
The rushing situation in Arizona might be just as bleak as the quarterback situation, if not worse. At least it seems like the Cardinals have a plan for the quarterback problem. The Cardinals seems content to have no running game.
Ryan Williams may or may not prove to be a steal, but the Cardinals need to show they want to make significant improvements right now.
With Kevin Kolb potentially in the mix, adding DeAngelo Williams to an offense with Larry Fitzgerald would turn the Cardinals stagnant offense around quickly.
It's cliche but the Washington Redskins will spend money this offseason. They might as well put some of it to good use.
The Redskins selection of Roy Helu has fantasy football players salivating over picking him because of the magic that Mike Shanahan seems to have with running backs. Imagine what Shanahan could do with a proven back like Williams.
If Williams is looking solely to cash in on his free agency, Washington is the way to go. Maybe Bruce Allen will talk some sense into Daniel Snyder and they will curb spending, but if not, Williams is a good place to start spending that money.
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots just drafted two running backs and have Danny Woodhead on the roster and potentially may want to bring back BenJarvus Ellis-Green. So why would you add DeAngelo Williams to the mix?
Outside of Ellis-Green, none of those backs are full-time backs. Woodhead certainly took a beating last season and kept on ticking, but he might not be so lucky next season. The two rookies will probably split time as third-down back options, and Woodhead may play more receiver next season.
Adding a true workhorse running back would give the Patriots a dimension that they have not had since Corey Dillon. Williams would be hard pressed to find a better situation if he is looking to get a ring in the near future.
The Dolphins are another team in a transition phase. There are rumblings that a quarterback change may be in the works with Vince Young possibly coming to town. There are also rumblings that the Ronnie Brown era might be over.
Daniel Thomas is an explosive runner and should add solid dimension to the Dolphins running attack and Ricky Williams might be a solid runner but is definitely getting up in age. Even if he continues to play, it won't be at a high level for much longer.
DeAngelo Williams could act as a mentor to Thomas and split carries with him to prolong his career. There is also the added bonus of splitting time with Thomas extending both of their careers.
The Carolina Panthers might be the team that needs to have DeAngelo Williams in uniform next season the most. Losing franchise players two offseasons in a row will not do much to spark hope in the Carolinas.
After the departure of Julius Peppers last year, the Panthers need to make a statement and show they are willing to re-sign their talent at any cost. The Panthers running game will be solid even without Williams.
Even though Jonathan Stewart is a good option at running back, it's always better to have two 1,000-yard rushers than one.
With a rookie quarterback, it is more important than ever for the Panthers to make sure that they have a solid running game to rely on.
With Cam Newton having the added skill of being able to run, this will add a dynamic to the offense that the Panthers have never had.
With Newton, Williams and Stewart, the Panthers could start to make their climb out of the NFC South cellar and might be truly competitive as early as next season.