Does Pewter Report think RB Cadillac Williams will be back in Tampa Bay? Why could he leave? Will Williams have a lot of interest in free agency? Find out the answers and the prediction of Williams’ future with the Bucs.
PewterReport.com continues this series of articles that predicts whether a Bucs veteran free agent will be back with the team in 2011.RUNNING BACK CARNELL ‘CADILLAC’ WILLIAMS
Williams, 29, is entering unrestricted free agency after playing his sixth NFL season. The 5-foot-11, 217-pound Williams was a first-round pick, fifth overall, of the Buccaneers in the 2005 NFL Draft. 2010 SEASON
Williams started the first nine games of the season before leaving the starting lineup due to ineffectiveness. Rookie LeGarrette Blount surpassed Williams as the lead ball carrier after Williams struggled to get the ground game moving and averaging 2.5 yards per carry to start the season. Going to a backup role revived Williams and he excelled as the Bucs' third-down back. Williams did a good job as a blocker, pass receiver and third-down runner. For the season, he ran for 437 yards on 125 carries (3.5 average) with two touchdowns. He caught 46 passes for 355 yards and one score. CAREER UP TO THIS POINT
Williams started out his career by being the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 2005 when he ran for 1,178 yards (4.1 average) and six touchdowns. That year, Williams helped the Bucs win the NFC South and finish with an 11-5 record.
In 2006, Williams ran for 798 yards and one touchdown in 14 games. Williams lost the majority of the 2007 and 2008 seasons due to torn knee ligaments. After the first injury there was concern by Williams and the Buccaneers that he may never play again.
In 2009, Williams came back healthy and took hold of the starting running back position over veteran Earnest Graham and free agent addition Derrick Ward. Williams finished second for the Comeback Player of the Year award after he ran for 823 yards (3.9 average) with four touchdowns. He also caught 28 passes for 217 yards and three scores.
WHY HE COULD RE-SIGN
Williams definitely has supporters at One Buc Place that would like to see him back. He is a team leader and is very popular in the locker room. Williams’ boisterous personality is a motivator for the team in practice. Some with the Bucs feel that Williams has one more good season left in him as a third-down back.
The Bucs do not feel that Blount is an every-down back at this point in his young career. Blount does not have the skills in the passing game, a complete understanding of the Buccaneers offense nor the proper decision-making ability in blitz pickup for that role at this time in his young career. Williams struggled with the same aspects early in his career and the Bucs would insert veteran Michael Pittman into the game on third down in 2005.
The price to re-sign Williams should be extremely affordable. There are younger and more accomplished running backs that are scheduled to hit free agency, so re-signing Williams should not command a significant contract. A running back nearing 30 years of age with two rebuilt knees is not a recipe for a lucrative contract in the free agency marketplace. WHY HE COULD DEPART
Tampa Bay has fortified the running back position with the drafting of sixth-round pick Allen Bradford. The Bucs also like seldom-used backup Kregg Lumpkin. The Buccaneers have some depth with their third-down back as well with Graham being more than capable of handling those duties, and he is under contract for 2011. Williams also does not play on special teams, and backup running backs have typically been core special teams contributors for Tampa Bay.
In the Bucs' pre-draft meetings, general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris were said to not be enthusiastic about bringing back Williams. The Buccaneers could use the roster spot for a younger running back that could have a long-term future and a back that could serve as a backup that could handle a large amount of carries if there was an injury to Blount.
Williams may also want a chance to compete to be a starter. That does not seem likely at this point in his career coming off 2010 when he lost his starting spot, but he may want to go to a team where he will have a bigger role. PREDICTION
Pewter Report’s prediction is that Williams will not be re-signed by Tampa Bay.PREVIOUS PR PREDICTS
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