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POLL: Would you have rather the Lions signed Jamaal Williams or David Montgomery?

Considering we know the cost of each running back on the open market, which running back would you have preferred the Lions choose?

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Late Tuesday evening, word broke that David Montgomery had agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions. The news was bittersweet for many Lions fans who had wanted the team to re-sign fan favorite Jamaal Williams because the arrival of Montgomery surely meant the team had decided to move on from Williams.

On Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints reached an agreement with Jamaal Williams to the tune of $12 million—$8 million guaranteed—over three years. Even though Detroit’s decision the day before to sign Montgomery seemed to signal the Lions and Williams couldn’t agree on a figure, supporters of re-signing Williams were left wondering why Brad Holmes and the Lions would sign Montgomery to a more expensive contract—$18 million with $11 million in guarantees over three seasons.

Which leads us to today’s Question of the Day:

Would you have rather the Lions signed Jamaal Williams or David Montgomery?

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge the obvious: Williams was an incredibly easy player to root for in Detroit. His personality was infectious, his passion for football was obvious, and he was front and center in pulling this franchise out of the doldrums. He was an awesome interviewee on our PODcast—twice—and he wore his emotions proudly. Oh, and he ran for 1,066 yards and broke Barry Sanders’ single-season record for rushing touchdowns with 17. Not only is he a likable guy, but he’s also a pretty good football player.

David Montgomery, however, is just a better football player.

Over the last four seasons, Montgomery’s 185 missed tackles ranks fifth in the NFL, and as Jeremy Reisman reminded me earlier this morning, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson mentioned to Fox 2’s Dan Miller, “these 4 and 5-yard runs, they really should be 8, 9, or even more if we can break a tackle.” Montgomery is the guy to turn those runs into bigger gains because of his elite contact balance and play strength as a runner.

And although Montgomery, like Williams, lacks that breakaway speed once he gets past the second level of the defense, it’s important to consider his versatility and ability to play on all three downs. Detroit’s offense became predictable at times depending on if D’Andre Swift or Williams was lined up in the backfield, but with Montgomery, the Lions can maintain the threat of run or pass with him on the field. Montgomery’s reliable hands—34 catches for 316 yards and a touchdown in 2022—keep him a threat in the receiving game, and his pass blocking is more good than bad—he’s only allowed only 17 quarterback pressures over his four seasons in Chicago.

Now, there’s the issue that Detroit is paying more for a running back than some might like to see them spend at the position—especially with Montgomery costing considerably more than Williams—but that’s the cost of acquiring an upgrade in today’s NFL. You might have preferred the Lions spend that money to upgrade at linebacker, or maybe even guard, but Detroit wants to outscore their opponents. Adding Montgomery can unlock a new level of consistency, deception, and production to this offense, and it’s worth betting on considering how Detroit looked when they were the better team on the ground.

Your turn.


Would you have rather the Lions signed Jamaal Williams or David Montgomery?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Jamaal Williams (3 years, $12M—$8M guaranteed)
    (1451 votes)
  • 75%
    David Montgomery (3 years, $18M—$11M guaranteed)
    (4353 votes)
5804 votes total Vote Now

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