The New England Patriots will be without one of their cornerbacks for the entire 2022 season.
Williams was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. In 2021, he appeared in 12 games and recorded 21 tackles and five passes defended. In his entire career, Williams has appeared in 36 games for the Patriots and has 44 total tackles and eight passes defended.
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While the Patriots need all the help that they can get at cornerback, Williams was viewed as a depth piece who possibly could have been cut. Now Williams will likely stay on the New England roster and will be placed on injured reserve.
Who is On the Roster Bubble?
With the path to the 53-man roster just beginning, plenty of players will be wondering where they stand on the Patriots roster. WEEI’s Andy Hart believes that Malcolm Butler could find himself without a job heading into the regular season.
“Is that the case with Butler? Did Belichick need to get a “look” at what the former two-time Pro Bowler may have left in the tank at the age of 32 after being away from the game for a year? Could he still be in line for a roster spot and maybe even a key job in the defensive backfield where it seems Jalen Mills is the only cornerback whose role is solidified?” Hart wrote.
“Or, might Butler’s playing time in the season opener with all the other players with plenty to prove be a sign that his standing in New England may not exactly be on solid footing?”
Butler signed a two-year contract with the Patriots in the offseason. The deal is worth $5 million and included a $500,000 signing bonus. Butler also has a dead cap hit of $750,000, so New England wouldn’t be too hand-strung if they decided to cut the veteran.
Why Did Butler Play In the First Preseason Game?
As Hart mentioned, Butler was a part of the backup unit that played in the first preseason game against the New York Giants.
Belichick spoke about the decision to play his second unit and rest his starters on Monday.
“Well, the players that played a lot in the game did less in some of the practices leading up to the game, and the players that played less in the game or didn’t play at all in the game, did a lot more,” Belichick said before practice. “So, I think when you look cumulatively, over, call it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, which actually we have – the volumes are pretty close. So, some guys played a lot in the game, but really didn’t get a whole lot of practice reps. Now, they did in the stadium practice, where everybody got a lot of reps in, so those were split up pretty evenly.
“But from that point on, I would say the overall number is sort of the same, but some of the numbers were a lot higher in the game, some of the other numbers were a lot higher in practice. Both in terms of number of plays and actual volume of what the player did, I think it balanced out. Not perfectly, but it balanced out.”