With the loss of running back Chase Edmonds to free agency, the Arizona Cardinals could flirt with adding a complement to Pro Bowl running back James Conner.
Williams, 26, was undrafted out of LSU in 2018 and signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s spent the last four seasons with the Chiefs and won a Super Bowl in 2019. The veteran running back had a career-best 588 rushing yards on 144 carries in 2021.
Also, Williams became a viable pass-catcher in 2021, catching 47 passes for 452 yards. He had an 82.5% catch rate, which was barely better than Edmonds’ 81.1% catch rate.
The Cardinals could look to add Williams’ experience, who only have Eno Benjamin and Jaylen Samuels as the other running backs on the depth chart.
ALL the latest Cardinals news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cardinals newsletter here!
Cardinals Need RB Insurance
Conner ended up with 18 total touchdowns in 2021, which were tied for second-most in the league. His production was through the roof and Arizona’s offense soared in his presence. After making the Pro Bowl in 2021, Conner signed a three-year, $21 million deal with $13.5 million guaranteed to remain in Arizona.
Unfortunately, Conner has yet to play over 15 games in a season. Conner’s had injury concerns in the past and dealt with an ankle and ribs injury in 2021. With Edmonds’ departure, the Cardinals seem to be on the lookout for a 1B option to soften Conner’s load.
Williams could be that answer. Since his rookie season, Williams’ role has increased and finally started seven games in 2021. He had a career-high six rushing touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. The 26-year-old also caught two touchdowns.
Spotrac projects Williams’ market value to be $2.2 million per season. The Cardinals could look to add Williams and fix their other pressing needs in the NFL draft on April 28.
If not, it’s hard to see the Cardinals drafting a running back in the first round of the draft. But the later rounds could see the team search for one. Watch out for Arizona State running back Rachaad White, who the Cardinals spoke to during the NFL combine.
“I’ve played two years here at Arizona State, 15 games the past three years, so I know they’ve been very successful, especially starting out in the season,” White said on March 3. “Would I like to stay in the Valley? I like Arizona a lot so I wouldn’t mind that.”
Cardinals Add Depth
In case you missed it, the Cardinals announced they have signed free-agent tight end Stephen Anderson to a one-year deal. Anderson started three games with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021 and amassed 165 yards receiving yards and one touchdown.
Under coach Kliff Kingsbury in 2021, the Cardinals were first in the league in 10 personnel usage at 21.5%. That means you will be seeing plenty of instances with two tight ends in the Cardinals’ offense that already have Zach Ertz and Maxx Williams on the roster.
The Cardinals re-signed Ertz to a three-year deal and Williams to a one-year deal in free agency. Ertz, 31, was traded to the Cardinals during the 2021 season from the Eagles for CB Tay Gowan and a fifth-round pick. He caught 56 passes for 574 yards for three touchdowns in 11 games with Arizona.
As for Williams, the 27-year-old caught 16 passes for 193 yards with a touchdown in 2021 before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in Week 5. Five days later, the Cardinals traded for Ertz in order to get production at the tight end position.
Arizona already had plenty of firepower at the tight end position. With the addition of Anderson, the team’s depth only increases.