NFL Free Agency: Jamaal Williams signs three-year deal with New Orleans Saints

Andrew Graham03/15/23
Article written by:On3 imageAndrew Graham


Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Jamaal Williams #30 of the Detroit Lions leads the pregame huddle against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Former Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams hit the open market for the second time in his career this free agency period. But now the veteran running back has a home in New Orleans with the Saints, according to Adam Schefter. The deal is three years in length.

Williams most recently played two seasons with the Detroit Lions, a divisional rival of the Packers. His first year in Detroit coincided with a 3-13-1 first year under new head coach Dan Campbell. Then, in 2022, Williams was heavily featured in a rushing attack that helped propel the Lions to a 9-8 record and the cusp of the playoffs. He led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns.

In four seasons with the Packers, Williams served mostly as a change of pace option to Aaron Jones, who was drafted in 2018. With the acquisition of bruising running back AJ Dillon via the draft in the 2020, Williams was eventually a cap casualty after that season.

Williams was drafted by the Packers in 2017 out of BYU, selected with the 134th overall pick. Williams was a productive college back, topping 1000 yards in his sophomore and senior seasons while tallying 3901 across four seasons, plus 35 rushing touchdowns.

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.