If you were wondering when the Detroit Lions would start spending some money in free agency, wonder no longer.
And they take a chunk out of a division rival in the process.
Former Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams said on Twitter he is “grateful and blessed” to be signing with the Detroit Lions in free agency. Williams’ agency, ISA Sports and Entertainment, said the two-year deal is worth up to $7.5 million.
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Williams, who will turn 26 in April, just completed his fourth NFL season, all with the Packers. Serving as Aaron Jones’ primary backup, Williams had 119 rushes for 505 yards (4.2 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns in 14 games, including three starts. He also had 31 catches for 236 yards and another TD. Williams averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 107 attempts in 2019.
The Packers agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal with Jones.
The Lions have presumed starter D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson as their running backs, with Jason Cabinda and Nick Bawden as fullbacks.
The Lions also have added wide receiver Tyrell Williams and tight end Josh Hill via free agency.
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New offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn leads a run-centric offensive staff that includes assistant coach and running backs coach Duce Staley.
“I love Coach Lynn,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeSean McCoy, who played for Lynn in Buffalo, said Tuesday at Super Bowl LV. “I really do. He’s the type of guy that he’s going to teach discipline. The guys will be very disciplined. They won’t make a lot of mistakes. They’ll be mentally sharp. I think they will run the ball very well.”
Staley said in February that “the most important thing” for his running backs is to be good in pass protection. Like Johnson, Williams is cone of the best pass protecting running backs in the NFL.
“I take pride in making sure our quarterback doesn’t hit the ground,” Staley said. “And that’s the most important thing for me. You can be one of the most talented runners out there, you can be the most talented route runner out there, but if you can’t block, you can’t play for me. Point blank, period. So we’re going to start there, that’s how we’re going to end it.”
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