Williams, who was released by the Cleveland Browns and subsequently failed a physical with the Chicago Bears, has been in the midst of a whirlwind week. He met with the Detroit Lions on Monday, the New York Jets Wednesday and will be meeting with the Miami Dolphins today and the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday, as several teams are taking advantage of the opportunity to get a look at a street free agent before the free agent period officially begins. San Francisco has also been rumored as having an interest in him.
According to a source, contracts have been offered, but Williams is intent on making all of the scheduled team visits before a decision is made which contract offer to accept.
Williams suffered an ankle injury that ended his 2016 season before it even began and a once-promising prospect in the Browns system became a thorn in the side of the organization. He and the team had a dispute over the best form of treatment for the injury. That dispute led to Williams being suspended by the Browns and Williams filed a grievance with the NFL Players Association claiming that he thought the team should pay for the surgery and pay him his full 2016 salary.
At the heart of the problem between Williams and the Browns was that he was cleared by the Cleveland medical staff to play, but Williams reportedly didn’t feel physically ready to return to action and refused to play in the preseason opener, feeling he was putting his long-term career at risk. He was suspended by the Browns for two games and fined. When that August suspension was up, he was released. Chicago claimed him, but he failed the Bears’ team physical due to bone spurs in his injured ankle, which appeared to give some weight to Williams’ assertion that he was far from 100 percent. He remained unsigned from that point on in the 2016 season.
Because he was unsigned, Williams is able to sign with any team as a free agent immediately rather than having to wait for the start of the new league year.
Ian Rappaport of NFL Media reported that Williams has been medically cleared by Dr. Robert Anderson, a North Carolina-based specialist in foot and ankle injuries, which resulted in his being able to have eight days filled with team visits, which will include the Vikings on Tuesday.
An undrafted free agent in 2014 out of the University of Pittsburgh, in his first two seasons with Cleveland, Williams played in 26 games, starting 10 of them. He earned a reputation as being a tough, instinctive player, who recorded 77 tackles, 10 passes broken up, three forced fumbles and two sacks in his first two seasons there.
Given that Williams, who is 5-9, is almost exclusively a nickel cornerback, it may be a sign that the Vikings are looking to move on from veteran Captain Munnerlyn, or at least offer them some backup insurance, since he and 2016 rookie Mackensie Alexander both are viewed as slot corners.
Munnerlyn told Viking Update after the season that he was going to direct his agent to try to work out a new deal with the Vikings before thinking about potentially moving on to another team. To date, that hasn’t happened, but Munnerlyn’s representatives are supposed to meet with the Vikings at the NFL Scouting Combine in two weeks, prior to the start of free agency and Munnerlyn plans to vist the Vikings’ Winter Park facility this weekend.null