Last week, Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams made some waves by showing up to the team's mandatory minicamp about 20 pounds overweight. Rex Ryan was noticeably peeved, and as a result of the weight gain Williams spent most of the week doing conditioning work instead of taking reps with the offense.
While Williams is aware that "It’s going to require some work," his teammates seem confident he’ll be able to make it back down to his playing weight of 230 pounds before the season starts.
If he needed any motivation, however, he received some from Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com last week. In his Fan Friday mailbag, Brown gave a rather long response to a question about Los’ roster spot, beginning by noting the extended time frame it will take for Los to lose the weight without risking injury. He continued by talking up Jonathan Williams, who took first-team reps last week with LeSean McCoy nursing an injury. He closed by saying,
Jonathan Williams has a lot of the same physical skills of Karlos Williams. If Karlos Williams’ weight loss process last (sic) into the preseason I think it’s very possible that Jonathan Williams is your backup running back and Gillislee remains the third back as he was last season.
While he doesn’t come outright with it, the response seems to imply that Williams is in danger of being cut if he doesn’t return to form (no pun intended). The final cut-down date figures to be around September 3 (the Saturday after the preseason wraps up), which would give him about two months to drop the weight, or at least have himself on a good track to do so.
The likelihood of Karlos Williams being cut outright is almost zero. He was a workhorse last season, and had one of the best rookie campaigns in recent memory for a Bills player at any position. He remains one of the top backup running backs in the league and a major part of the top stable of running backs in the entire NFL.
That said, the weight gain is a concern (look no further than Eddie Lacy for proof) and would absolutely affect his playing time going into the season. Jonathan Williams is a talented rookie, and Mike Gillislee is a great change-of-pace back (so long as he can hit the edge). If he's not in danger of being cut, he's certainly in danger of dropping on the depth chart. There are plenty of mouths to feed (again, no pun intended), so if Karlos isn’t ready to go full bore, then his playing time will go to someone who is.