First, let's take care of the particulars of the situation. Williams will start working out no later than Monday. When he does start working out or practicing, the Dolphins will have a two-week roster exemption. After the two weeks are up or before, the Dolphins will have to decide whether to put Williams on the 53-man roster or simply let him go.
If they let him go, they get nothing in return.
The best scenario obviously would have been for Goodell to make his decision soon after Williams applied for reinstatement on Oct. 1. That way, the Dolphins could have traded Williams before the Oct. 16 deadline to one of the many teams in bad need of a running back -- Houston, Green Bay, Chicago, Tampa Bay certainly come to mind.
If the Dolphins are going to trade Williams now, it will have to be in the offseason.
The truth is that Williams doesn't have nearly as much trade value as his talent would dictate because another failed drug test knocks him out of the league, but he does have some value.
The reason: He's just that talented a running back.
So the logic says the Dolphins hang on to Williams the rest of the season and see what they can get for him in the offseason. You're probably not looking at anything more than a late-round draft pick, but, hey, something's something.
That seems an obvious decision to make. Keep in mind, though, that GM Randy Mueller is the guy who traded Williams from New Orleans to Miami in 2002 and that Cameron's comments throughout the offseason about past behavior being a good indicator of the future don't exactly make it sound like they're going to welcome him with open arms.
So, no, it wouldn't be a total shock to see the Dolphins simply let Williams go to finally close the book on what has been a disappointing and frustrating chapter.
But we think -- and hope -- they'll make the sound decision here.
The next question obviously concerns when and how much Williams will get to play, if at all.
Make no mistake, Williams easily is the best running back on this team, and that held true even when Ronnie Brown was around and even when Ronnie Brown was tearing up the league. Williams is that good.
But Jesse Chatman has played very well since Brown has gotten hurt and we can easily see Cameron sticking with him as the workhorse as long as he gets the job done.
We're thinking the logical move is to get Williams game-ready and then have him come off the bench to split carries with Chatman, much like the Dolphins did with Brown and Williams in 2005.
Hey, it's not like the Dolphins can't use all the help they can get on offense.