The Green Bay Packers are constantly in the news because of the J.J. Watt sweepstakes. For them to do much of anything during NFL free agency, they will need to make some really tough decisions to get back under the cap, one of them being the release of offensive lineman Rick Wagner. He was the 24th-ranked offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus. His presence helped both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams this season.
Jones and Williams both had great seasons, but both find themselves as free agents this offseason. Both fired their agents, likely because they couldn’t get the contract extension they wanted in Green Bay. Based on what I saw though, Jamaal Williams was better than Aaron Jones. The latter made the headlines, but Williams did everything else. Just because he often plays second fiddle doesn’t mean he’ll be cheap.
Let’s dive into the season of Jamaal Williams and see what his future may hold this offseason with the Packers free agency.
Packers Free Agency: Jamaal Williams
Jamaal Williams 2020 Stats
Jamaal Williams had another extremely underrated year. While everyone loves to harp on how good Aaron Jones is, the mainstream sports media constantly fails to appreciate all Williams does. He ran for 505 yards on 119 carries and had 236 receiving yards on 31 receptions. While that might not seem like very much production, remember he is often used as a change of pace back behind Jones. Even with that in mind, he’s able to average 53 all purpose yards per game. He’s effective on the ground, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and runs better routes than most of the Packers wide receivers.
While he may have only found the end zone three times this year, he still has yet to fumble in his four-year career. Despite 500 carries and 122 receptions, he has never once coughed the ball up. Past the box score, Williams is by far the most effective pass blocker among the backs. He really begs the question: is there anything he can’t do?
I don’t think it’s all that much of a debate. I firmly believe that Jamaal Williams is the best running back the Green Bay Packers had last season. He is a better receiver and just as effective of a rusher as Jones. Sure, Jones posts the bigger numbers, but he also has much more carries. That’s also not even mentioning Jones has a more extensive, although not chronic, fumbling history. Add in his abilities as a pass blocker, and Williams should be the priority for Green Bay in the backfield, not Jones.
AJ Dillon got more work in the offense as the season progressed, but he doesn’t seem to be at the lead back level yet. Williams still remains the more effective pass protector and receiver among the two. Unfortunately, it’s murky, at best, to tell what’s going to happen with him. Williams is a perfect fit in this offense for years to come, as seen by his high productivity and limited, if not non-existent, mistakes. He also very clearly is a good morale guy. Is he ever not smiling?
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Jamaal Williams Free Agency Prediction
It looks doubtful, at best, that the Packers have Aaron Jones-type money, but they have had open extension talks prior to the offseason, whereas they haven’t with Williams. That is never a good sign, unless somehow the Packers and the ever so boisterous Williams were able to keep it under wraps. Either way, I don’t see Williams coming back. I think he is the most likely between him and Jones to return, but as time progresses, it looks less and less likely.
Last year’s NFL Draft was one of the deepest ever in terms of wide receiver talent. This year, the running back pool may be one of the deepest in recent memory. With players like Chuba Hubbard and Trey Sermon being ranked around the 10 spot just among fellow running backs, it’s pretty evident just how deep this draft class is. I think the Packers are going to save as much money as they can. They’ll have Dillon as the lead back next season and draft a running back on day two or three.
Green Bay will likely try to replicate what Williams brings and take the risk; focusing on other problem areas instead.