After an inauspicious four-year stint with the Patriots, Joejuan Williams is getting a fresh start in Minnesota.
The former New England cornerback on Monday agreed to terms with Minnesota, the team announced, pending a physical.
The Patriots traded up to select Williams in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft (45th overall), but he never developed into a reliable defensive contributor. The 6-foot-3 Vanderbilt product started just two games during his New England tenure — including a playoff loss in Buffalo — and was benched in both.
Late in the 2021 season, despite injuries that decimated the Patriots’ cornerback group, Williams was a healthy scratch for three consecutive games, with New England sitting him in favor of practice squad call-up D’Angelo Ross. Williams then spent the entire 2022 campaign on injured reserve.
All told, Williams appeared in 36 games for the Patriots, totaling 44 tackles and eight passes defended.
Williams was the only defensive free agent the Patriots chose not to re-sign this offseason, not counting retired safety Devin McCourty. They brought back cornerback Jonathan Jones, safety Jabrill Peppers, linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Mack Wilson, and defensive tackles Carl Davis and Daniel Ekuale and placed a restricted free agent tender on cornerback Myles Bryant.
With Williams officially gone, New England now has just one player remaining from its 10-man 2019 draft class: offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, who signed his RFA tender earlier this month. That tender includes no guaranteed money, however, and Cajuste currently looks like a long shot to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster, meaning the team could be devoid of 2019 draftees by the time the 2023 season begins.