Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams recently came clean on his original statement that he would only entertain playing for 28 NFL teams in 2017. For those fuzzy on the math, the current free agent said “28” and not “32” teams, which leaves four franchises out of the running for Williams’ services.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 5, 2017
For the last week fans were left in the dark on who DeAngelo was referring to, but word has finally spread on his selections: which left his Twitter feed ablaze with fiery comments from fans of those teams!
Below are the four teams Williams named, and whether or not it would be a solid decision to remain on the sidelines instead of accepting an offer from these clubs.
The Cleveland Browns
Winning precisely one game in 2016 and failing to win more than 7 only twice since reentering the league in 1999, can anyone really blame DeAngelo for skipping the lowly Browns as an option.
[The] first team would be the Cleveland Browns. Mainly because they don’t have a history of winning. I don’t think they’ve ever had a winning season.
I’d love to say more about his decision here, but let’s just leave it as “self-explanatory”!
The Dallas Cowboys
Williams revealed that he grew up as a fan of the Cowboys vaunted rival, the San Francisco 49ers. As a Niners fan, he flat-out refuses to play for “America’s Team”.
I grew up and was raised as a 49ers fan. My fandom for the team that I was raised as would not allow me to go to the Cowboys.
This decision could be criticized as Dallas appears to have turned things around in Big D with a 13-win season in 2016. Playing for a potential Super Bowl contender should be high on any free agent’s list, but it’s highly doubtful D-Will would even “play” given one of the reasons for Dallas turnaround: Ezekiel Elliott.
The Cowboys second-year running back set the Earth on fire during the 2016 season, rushing for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. Elliott is backed up by former Washington Redskins starter Alfred Morris, who was named to the Pro Bowl in consecutive seasons back in 2013 and 2014.
Needless to say, Williams would be lucky to find any touches as a third option at best in the Dallas backfield. In fact, it would be highly unlikely the Cowboys would show mutual interest unless something were to happen to Elliott or Morris.
The Jacksonville Jaguars
Williams dismissed another basement dweller, the Jacksonville Jaguars:
I can’t think of anything else positive about that particular organization outside of the fact that they have pools in the stadium. Where I’m at in my career, I want to go somewhere where winning is something that is expected. Not something that people get excited about.
That’s a hilarious statement, which was backed up with DeAngelo mentioning he admired former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor. However, consider the 34-year-old maybe has one good year left in him. Wasting it on a franchise like the Browns or Jaguars isn’t a good idea, especially if he’s expected to uproot his family life to Northeast Ohio or Southern Florida. The latter might be nicer with beaches and lack of a state income tax, but we’ll just assume it’s a bit of a nuisance for the end result!
The Carolina Panthers
The most shocking revelation from DeAngelo is that he would not consider a return to the Carolina Panthers. Williams spent nine of his eleven NFL seasons with the Panthers after the team selected him in 2006.
However, he doesn’t feel as though his departure from that team was handled properly:
I had no problem getting fired but [there are] things that went on there, that I didn’t like and still don’t like to this day.
His sentiments aren’t too far off from another former Panther, the newly retired Steve Smith Sr., who had a major falling out with Carolina’s management. While the Panthers could be a contender, it’s not a given: they have alternated winning and losing seasons over the last six years. Williams would have to compete with Jonathan Stewart, who he shared snaps with several seasons ago on the same team, plus Carolina’s top two draft picks Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. Both rookies are hybrid players who could play as a pass catcher or in the backfield, thus stealing snaps from someone who doesn’t particularly want to be in that locker room as is.
Therefore, skipping on the Panthers appears to be a justifiable position for Williams.
One team which wasn’t mentioned on this list: the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are currently in talks with Le’Veon Bell, who for all intents and purposes will play on his franchise tender for 2017. The franchise also drafted Pitt’s James Conner and signed free agent back Knile Davis (formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers). It appears they are ready to move on from Williams, but the door could remain open if plans change come training camp.