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NFL Free Agency: DeShawn Williams signs with Carolina Panthers

Jonathan Wagner03/15/23
Article written by:On3 imageJonathan Wagner


DeShawn Williams free agency
Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.

Former Clemson Tigers defensive tackle DeShawn Williams has earned a new contract in NFL free agency. Williams has signed with the Carolina Panthers, per the team. No details of the contract were announced.

Williams spent 2011-2014 at Clemson, totaling 79 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in his collegiate career. He was not drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft, but landed an undrafted free agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Williams began his career mostly on practice squad, but played in four games with the Bengals in 2016. His next game action came in 2020 with the Denver Broncos, where he turned into a productive contributor. In three years with the Broncos, Williams totaled 113 tackles with nine tackles for loss, 19 quarterback hits, 7.5 sacks, eight passes defended and one interception.

More on the 2023 NFL offseason, free agency

The NFL 2023 calendar year is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET on March 15 when contracts running through 2022 will officially run out, making those players free agents. Prior to the beginning of free agency, teams will have a chance to designate one franchise or transition tag player, starting on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. ET and ending on March 7. Beginning March 13 through March 15 teams will be allowed a legal negotiation with players who are set to become unrestricted free agents.

In addition to NFL free agency, the new year also marks the beginning of all trades being made official by the league office. April 21 marks the deadline to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets while April 26 marks the deadline for teams to match restricted free agent offers sheets. 722 players are slated to become free agents in 2023.

More on restricted, exclusive rights free agents

Players with only three years of accredited NFL experience become restricted free agents. Their original team will have the option to apply first-round, second-round, original-round, and right-of-fight-of-first-refusal tenders on players at escalating price tags. The higher the round, the more expensive the tender amount; however, if a separate team does offer a contract and the original team does not match that round pick will be conveyed from the new team to the original team. Right of first refusal only gives a team the option to match or not. If they don’t match, they get nothing in return. An original-round tender would send a draft pick from whatever round the player was drafted back to the original team if they chose not to match. The original team will have five days to match once a player signs an offer sheet from a new team.