Before this week, Detroit Lions fans were mostly left in the dark about why the team didn’t re-sign Jamaal Williams. Both sides were interested in getting a deal done, but it never happened. After the Lions shifted their focus to signing running back David Montgomery instead and Williams landed with the Saints, there appeared to be some bitterness on the players’ side.
“They been done with me. I could tell,” Williams said in his introductory press conference. “The offer they gave me, I feel like was very—just disrespectful. Just showing that they—you know—really didn’t want me to be there.”
The Lions tried to bring back Williams, that much has been universally accepted. However, there have been conflicting reports on the offer the Lions sent Williams’ way. Kyle Meinke of MLive said Detroit “was nowhere near” the three-year, $12 million deal Williams got in New Orleans. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says the Lions offered a deal very close to the three-year, $18 million contract that Montgomery signed in Detroit.
This week at the owners meetings, Lions general manager Brad Holmes gave his side of the story.
“From a budgeting and planning standpoint pre-free agency, we had an allotment of resources set aside really for Jamaal,” Holmes said. “Didn’t really even consider another running back higher than that amount of resources that we set aside for Jamaal.”
Right off the bat, Holmes seems to be suggesting that they put aside a specific amount of money for Jamaal and did not exceed that with Montgomery’s signing. He reiterates this point a little later.
“Business happens. That’s part of this business, and it just didn’t work (with Williams),” Holmes continued. “We tried, but when the market crystalized and it got to a point where David was in play—kinda within the range or resources that we had set aside—then that’s when we went ahead and went forward with David.”
At this point, we’ve heard from both sides and they appear to be telling drastically different stories of what happened. We’ll likely never know which side is closer to the truth, but at this point, it’s time to move on, and it’s clear Holmes and company have already done that.
“We’re extremely excited about (Montgomery),” Holmes said. “He’s a very good football player. He’s one of the guys that me and Dan (Campbell) talked about a lot when we played them. Yes, you’re definitely concerned about (Justin) Fields running, but really concerned about David Montgomery. He’s a hard guy to bring down. Ever since college at Iowa State, he’s always been at the top of forced tackles missed. He’s a hard guy, he’s tough runner, he’s good in the passing game, he's’ a good runner. So he’s a great addition.”