When ranking the Detroit Lions' 2023 top unrestricted free agents, running back Jamaal Williams was at the top of the list. Williams was one of the Lions' emotional leaders on offense and is coming off a career year that saw him exceed 1,000 rushing yards and a league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns—a Lions single-season record.
Williams has been on a media tour this offseason, and at every stop along the way he has expressed his desire to return to Detroit on a new contract. The Lions have expressed a desire to get a deal done as well, and general manager Brad Holmes even told the media that the two sides were in discussions on a new deal at the NFL Combine.
“We’re having discussions now currently,” Holmes said. “We had a discussion with all of our upcoming UFAs that were on expiring deals, but there is a mutual interest to hopefully get him back.”
But despite both sides hoping to get a deal done, Williams’ impressive season has caught the attention of several other teams around the league and according to multiple reports, some of those teams are “very interested”.
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.
Dunne is a reliable source here, as he is very close to Williams’ camp, having written several very personal profiles on the Lions' running back.
In addition to Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Jets, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press wrote last week, saying, “Williams has made it known he wants to return to Detroit, and his representatives met with the Lions on Wednesday at the combine, but he is expected to garner interest from the (Carolina) Panthers, Buffalo Bills, and others on the open market.”
The Lions still have time to lock Williams up on a deal before the start of the NFL free agency tampering period—which begins at noon ET on Monday, March 13—but if they can’t get a deal done, it sounds like Williams will have plenty of other teams looking to have a chat with his agent.