Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary set to be an unrestricted free agent this time tomorrow. Now, a tweet by Tyler Dunne over the weekend stating the Bills are among the teams “very interested” in Detroit Lions free-agent running back Jamaal Williams has sparked lots of interest among Bills Mafia.
To that end, it would seem One Bills Drive is prepared to move on from the back they selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That’s because inquiring about and having interest in signing Williams would put the proverbial nail in the coffin of Singletary’s return to Buffalo.
Free agency nugget to pass along. There’s mutual interest in Jamaal Williams returning to Detroit, but a source told me today that Buffalo, Cincinnati and the New York Jets are all very interested in the running back.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) March 11, 2023
Williams led the NFL with 17 rushing TDs last year.
Pay close attention to one key stat about Williams, which Dunne mentions in the above tweet. That is, of course, those 17 rushing touchdowns. That’s an incredible number by a RB in the modern NFL. At the age of 27, Williams’ 2022 total was also more than Singletary has had on the ground in four seasons (16) with the Bills. Perhaps that’s due to the timeshare Singletary was thrust into, or his lack of ideal size for goal line work.
Considering those excuses, it should make the idea of Jamaal Williams even more enticing for general manager Brandon Beane. That’s because Williams was also part of a backfield platoon, and he thrived in goal-to-go situations for Detroit. Williams is 6’ and 224 pounds. He profiles as a running back the likes of which the Bills haven’t fielded since Karlos Williams or Willis McGahee.
Giving Singletary credit where it’s due, he’s done everything asked of him in the offense as a dual-threat RB. The one constant refrain about his play, however, revolves around the fumbles (13 in four seasons). Additionally, Singletary has never so much as flirted with a 1,000-yard campaign (870 yards being his career high) — which could be by design. But he is two years younger than Williams, and represents a significant-enough investment by the organization as a third-round pick.
Conversely, Williams has just three fumbles over six seasons. In fairness, 2022 was Williams’ first season over a 1,000 rushing yards (previous high was 601 yards), and he contributed very little as a receiver. Should Jamaal Williams join the Bills, it would be his third team since entering the league with the Green Bay Packers in 2017. Looking at Williams’ stats, it’s evident that he hasn’t accumulated significant mileage at either stop, which should mean he has plenty left in the bruising tank he’d bring to Orchard Park, NY.
As of Tuesday evening, things have grown more interesting concerning the running back situation for both the Lions and Bills. Dunne tweeted just after 9 p.m. EDT that Williams and Detroit were “far apart on a deal.” He also added that Buffalo was “mulling what to do with Devin Singletary.”
Jamaal Williams update. Right now, the running back and #Lions are far apart on a deal. Several teams still in the mix: Bills, Bengals, even Panthers/Bears. #Bills mulling what to do with Devin Singletary.— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) March 15, 2023
Hold-up right now is the RB market itself — top backs still waiting.
Both statements seem to hint at the idea that the running back market isn’t as hot as some might think.
A short while later, just before 9:30 p.m. EDT, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero tweeted, citing sources, that the Detroit Lions were signing former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery. Thus a further wrench was now added to the seized running back engine.
So, while NFL fans wait for the official start of free agency, Bills Mafia and prideful Lions fans wait to see what shakes out with some familiar backfield names. Could Buffalo’s interest in Williams be much more than cursory, while also not closing the door on a reunion with Singletary? Is Detroit even prepared to move on from Williams, envisioning Montgomery instead in his role?
Just consider it all for a moment — the idea of the Bills making a move to bring in a brutish back. A tandem of Jamaal Williams and James Cook is a tantalizing thought for these cold days of March. If the cost fits the bill, Beane and company should do whatever they can to bring Williams onboard the wagon.