Jamaal Williams Sends Strong Message to Lions About Free Agent Desires

Jamaal Williams

Getty Jamaal Williams on the field for the Lions vs. the Packers in 2023.

This offseason, the Detroit Lions have multiple big decisions to make in terms of free agency, and most of those will come from within first.

Detroit has a handful of players that they will have to decide whether or not need to return, and arguably the biggest decision about that will revolve around running back Jamaal Williams.

Williams found a home in Detroit the last two seasons, rushing for a total of 1,667 yards and 20 touchdowns while also becoming one of the team’s best culture fits. With that in mind, it isn’t a shock to hear that Williams wants to stay with the team in free agency.

Speaking to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com, Williams sent a message to Detroit’s front office. As he said, he wants to get an agreement done, stay long-term in Detroit and move forward so he can get back to the business of the game.

“I really just want to stay with Detroit, if I can. Really just stay here and make my mark here. I really want to finish (my career) here if I could. I understand it’s a business and the team has to do what’s best for them and I have to do what’s best for me, too, but I just really want us to come to a mutual agreement and just get it done and just get back to playing football,” Williams said in Twentyman’s piece.

The future of Williams has been a hot topic ever since the season concluded, with many opining that the Lions needed to prioritize a return for the running back, especially after his record-breaking season.

Williams is a major culture fit for the team’s locker room as well, given the passion he puts toward being a team leader. Add it up and it seems he is the whole package for a Lions team that has needed what he has brought to the table the last few seasons.

Hearing Williams wants to return strongly and prefers to get a deal done should make Lions fans feel good ahead of the offseason.

Williams Adds to Chorus of Lions Wanting Return

Hearing that a player wants to come back to Detroit this offseason has not been a surprise whatsoever, and it’s already happened with a handful of Detroit’s free agents to be.

Boosted by the team’s positive culture with head coach Dan Campbell, multiple Lions have made the case that they want to stay early in the offseason. Defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs and John Cominsky were amongst the first to state their desires within the media that they wanted to stay with the Lions.

Each were vital to the team’s defensive efforts, with Buggs posting 46 tackles, one sack, two passes defended and one forced fumble. All were career highs. Cominsky put up 30 tackles, four sacks, three passes defended and one forced fumble. Those numbers also were top career marks for the lineman.

Most recently, wide receiver DJ Chark also said that he desires staying when speaking with Amon-Ra St. Brown on a podcast. Chark, like Williams, was a big part of Detroit’s offense this season putting up 30 receptions, 350 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions.

Hearing that Williams himself desires a return makes four internal free agents that want to come back to Detroit. That simply proves the team’s culture is in good shape, and that the team might be in demand as a free agency destination when the offseason begins in March for those both in the building and outside of it.

Williams Had Historical 2022 Season With Lions

There was nobody more productive on the ground this season in terms of touchdowns in the league than Williams, which has allowed him to make some NFL history not seen in decades in Detroit.

With two touchdowns against Green Bay in Week 18, Williams set the single-season rushing touchdown record in Detroit with 17 scores, surpassing Hall of Famer Barry Sanders. The dagger score came on third-and-goal in the fourth quarter:

As a whole, Williams had a very gaudy slash line this year for Detroit. He rushed for 1,066 yards and 17 touchdowns. Additionally, he managed to put up 73 receiving yards for the team. He was Detroit’s leading rusher on the season, and always dependable, especially near the goal line.

With a big output over the final handful of games, Williams was able to crack the elusive 1,000 yard mark for Detroit, which was huge for a Lions running back given nobody since Reggie Bush had accomplished that feat since 2014.

Now, Williams simply wants to return for the 2023 season and get a deal done. With this in mind, the Lions might need to prioritize him most of all in early extension talks.

Read More