Saints sign running back Jamaal Williams

Jamaal Williams had a career best season in Detroit in 2022
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) is introduced before an NFL football game...
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) is introduced before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)(Paul Sancya | AP)
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:43 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:04 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Ever since they signed quarterback Derek Carr, the Saints have aggressively filled areas of need through free agency.

The Saints took a step towards bolstering their much-needed depth at running back by signing free agent Jamaal Williams to a 3-year deal worth up to $12 million with $8 million fully guaranteed, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Williams is headed to New Orleans off of his best year as pro. The physical downhill runner rushed over 1,000 yards (1,066 total) for the Detroit Lions and rushed for a career-best 17 touchdowns in 2022, surpassing Barry Sanders’s franchise record for most rushing touchdowns in a season. Prior to 2022, Williams’ rushing touchdown total best in a season was four and he averaged 2.6 touchdowns per season.

Despite having a career season, Detriot opted to move on from Williams when they signed David Montgomery, previously with the Chicago Bears, on a 3-year for $18 million deal, according to ESPN.

After a stellar sixth year, there may be a question of whether Williams, who played four years in Green Bay and two with Detriot, is a breakout star or the benefactor of high usage on a 9-8 team. Nonetheless, Williams, who averages 608.66 yards per season, fills the need for a downhill running back to share the backfield with starter and ever-shifty Alvin Kamara. While the legal status of Kamara is still uncertain, the Saints could rely on Williams to carry the bulk of the load.


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There will be at least some familiarity in New Orleans for Williams as he reunites with Taysom Hill. Williams and Hill both started for BYU and were both taken by Green Bay coming into the league. Hill signed with the Packers in 2017 as an undrafted free agent and Williams was drafted in the fourth round.

Williams is also BYU’s all-time leading rusher.

The Williams signing capped off a busy day in free agency in which the Saints replaced the defensive line departures of David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle, and Marcus Davenport with Khalen Saunders and Nathan Shepherd.

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