One of the best running backs of last year’s NFL rookie class now is looking for a job.
The Buffalo Bills waived second-year back Karlos Williams on Saturday, a bit of a surprising move considering Williams’ promising 2015 campaign. The Florida State product averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored nine total touchdowns (seven rushing, two receiving), as a strong backup to starter LeSean McCoy.
Yet the 23-year-old apparently reported to training camp out of shape, and Bills general manager Doug Whaley said he just wasn’t getting the job done.
“The release of Karlos Williams was strictly performance-based,” Whaley said Saturday, via ESPN.com. “He came in behind the eight ball and never caught up. And there was other guys on the roster that moved ahead of him.”
With a talented runner on the free agent market, it’s worth at least considering if the New England Patriots should kick the tires on Williams. LeGarrette Blount has been serviceable as the Patriots’ top running back but doesn’t possess Williams’ explosiveness. The team also could use some depth at the position, as Dion Lewis is the only other player on the roster who made a major contribution last season.
That said, Williams comes with plenty of red flags. He’s suspended for the first four games of 2016 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, so he wouldn’t even be available until Week 5, and his weight reportedly ballooned to as high as 261 pounds this offseason. (He’s officially listed at 230.)
With that in mind, it seems unlikely head coach Bill Belichick would take a chance on Williams. The Patriots’ offense has managed to succeed in recent years without a strong running game, and while they certainly could use another running back, it appears the risk outweighs the reward for Williams.
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