In 2020, there seemed to be no defensive back more aptly suited to play opposite All-Pro defensive back Jalen Ramsey than Darious Williams. As Ramsey shut down the opponent’s best receiver, Williams seemed very adept at denying success to the quarterback of hitting big gains with any of the other receivers on the football field.
Williams simply does not seem to be that same type of player this year. Statistically speaking, Williams played 14 games in the 2021 NFL season and started in 13 of those games. HIs tackling production skyrocketed, jumping from 44 tackles in 2020 to 71 tackles in 2021. But I don’t know that the LA Rams were looking for a solid tackler when they extended Williams for another season.
I believe that the team was looking for pass defense, and that is an area where production dropped. Williams’ completion rate (for receivers he covered) rose from 54.2 percent in 2020 to 62.0 percent in 2021. He allowed just two touchdowns in 2020, but that number jumped to four touchdowns in 2021. But most of all, Darious Williams had four interceptions to lead the secondary in 2020. In 2021? He’s had no interceptions.
Who will pay that premium?
But he’s heading to the playoffs again.
While it’s possible that the LA Rams re-sign Williams, I’m not certain that is how they will see fit to direct their salary dollars. In fact, I believed that his slight decline in production, coupled with a rapidly rising market price would combine to make Williams one of the eight Rams’ free agents who would not be back in 2022.
What is his market value? Well, we know that the 2021 contract for former teammate Troy Hill was a two-year $9 million contract. That should place Williams in the three-year $15-17.5 million range this season. As far as compensatory picks that may be awarded at that contract level? That could calculate out to a 2023 six-round compensatory draft pick to be awarded to the LA Rams.