You never say never. That being said, I will be heartbroken if Jamaal Williams is never in a Green Bay Packers uniform again.
On Tuesday night, Williams signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Lions worth up to $7.5 million. He will remain in the NFC North but, sadly, with a rival team. The upside is we still get to cheer for him for six games the next two years. The downside is we have to root against him twice a year.
Did he choose a team close to Green Bay or within the division so he can see his friends a few times a year? Who knows! You hate to see a player you love go to a rival, but that is the business of sports for you.
Honestly, when the off-season began, I expected Aaron Jones to sign somewhere else. Jones and Williams were free agents after being one of the best running back teams in the NFL. Both were drafted together in 2017: Williams was taken in the fourth round, Jones in the fifth.
Even though Williams was drafted first and Jones had setbacks with minor injuries, Aaron still emerged as the star back and front and center as the face of the Packers’ running game. The thing was, Williams was almost just as good as Jones. He ran tough, always ran hard, and was an even better dancer.
With a good chance that Jones was leaving to sign a huge contract, I thought Williams would be the one returning to Green Bay. With the team’s limited cap space, there was even a chance the Packers would roll with AJ Dillon, sign a veteran back, and look to the draft.
Aaron Jones Signs
That all changed on the Sunday afternoon before free agency officially began. Jones signed a four-year, $48 million deal with the Packers. It included a $13 million signing bonus, and Jones’ agent Drew Rosenhaus even stated that other teams offered more. Jones said he wanted to stay in Green Bay, and the team is lucky that he did.
The Packers now go into the 2021 season with another amazing one-two punch of Jones and Dillon. In reality, they signed the best running back free agent available. The only problem with that is there was no way the Packers could also keep Williams.
No. 30 confirmed the same before signing with the Lions. Jones and Williams went beyond being teammates, they were very close friends.
In February Williams said wanted to be a Packer for life, but it appears it was not meant to be. He should be able to compete for the starting back in Detroit. They also have D’Andre Swift, so a split-back approach is very possible. Williams could have a similar role next season.
He is a great running back and should have probably gotten more in free agency. During his four seasons with Green Bay, he had almost 3,000 yards and 18 total touchdowns without ever fumbling the ball.
Before being signed, Williams posted this on Instagram after Jones was re-signed.
Williams Will Be Missed
“J-Swaggy” himself had the most infectious, positive personality. Every time he had an interview, was on a podcast, interacted with his fans, or was just in public he was smiling and happy. The man was always laughing and dancing, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers would always sing his praises. Williams was also part of one of the coolest touchdown passes ever.
I will miss watching Williams play. Watch that clip and try not to be happy. The man knows how to celebrate a first down, a touchdown, or even a solid run. The play last season where his helmet flew off during the action is one I will remember forever. Some players would have stayed down or looked for their helmet. Not Williams. He got up and did some headbanging while walking down the field with a full smile on his face. Those are the moments I will miss.
Running backs are usually replaceable. People aren’t. You can’t blame the Packers for going after Aaron Jones. He is one of the best running backs in the league. Jones chose to stay in Green Bay. He could have gotten a lot more somewhere else. Don’t take this piece as Aaron Jones slander. This is mourning that Jamaal Williams can’t also return.
When Williams said he wanted to be a Packer for life, I believe him. I see him coming back to Green Bay if and when he gets the chance. Let’s hope he does. The 25-year-old should still have plenty of years left in him.
The team may very well have the same amount of points and touchdowns next year. With Jones’ prime and Dillon emerging, they might even have more. A Super Bowl is definitely in the cards. But that doesn’t mean they will have the same amount of dancing. And if there isn’t enough dancing and smiling, is it even worth it?
We will miss you, Jamaal. Come on back anytime you want.