Jamaal Williams Rips 'Disrespectful' Lions Contract Offer After Joining Saints in FA

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMarch 17, 2023

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 08: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Detroit Lions rushes during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 08, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions showed interest in re-signing running back Jamaal Williams, but they apparently didn't try all that hard to keep him in free agency.

"The offer they gave me, I feel like was very just disrespectful and just showing that they really didn't want me to really be there," Williams told reporters Friday.

Williams ultimately signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the New Orleans Saints, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The 27-year-old had spent the past two seasons with the Lions and is coming off a breakout 2022 season where he led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns. He added a career-high 1,066 rushing yards and was a key part of the league's No. 5 scoring offense.

General manager Brad Holmes said after the season there was mutual interest in a new contract:

Nolan Bianchi @nolanbianchi

Brad Holmes: There's a "mutual interest" between the Lions and UFA running back Jamaal Williams <a href="https://t.co/ZIUWE7tgry">pic.twitter.com/ZIUWE7tgry</a>

However, Williams received plenty of outside interest with the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets among those in pursuit of the running back, per Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com.

The Saints pushed the hardest and gave the veteran a three-year deal, adding valuable depth in the backfield alongside Alvin Kamara.

Detroit was willing to spend money on the position, signing former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery to a three-year, $18 million deal, per Rapoport. Montgomery should pair with D'Andre Swift to form an exciting one-two punch in the Lions backfield.

Of course, this likely only made things worse for Williams to see his replacement get a better deal.

The Saints do face the Lions in 2023, which could provide an opportunity for the running back to get some revenge against the team that slighted him.