Last Week, former Vikings Pro-bowler Kevin Williams visited with the New York Giants before leaving without a contract agreement. In fact, the free agency market for the 33 year-old Williams has been relatively slow.
Williams has suggesting walking away from the game, if he can not find a deal matching his needs:
“I knew eventually a team would reach out and show interest,” Williams said. “But I wasn’t worried about it. Either way, whether something works out [Tuesday] or doesn’t work out and I retire, I’m comfortable with that. I’m not a guy who’s worried about going home and leaving football behind. Football isn’t everything.”
Yet, the Raiders still have enough cap flexibility to offer him a deal in the range of the five million he made last season according to overthecap.com
The Raiders have already made the defensive line a priority by signing LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck, but they still lack a dominate presence on the inside. Defensive tackles are critical components to making quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket and clogging up lanes in the running game.
Williams may not be capable of dominating every down anymore, but his experience would still benefit the Oakland Raiders’ Defensive rotation. Since the Raiders do not have one dominate player on the inside it is even more critical to have a solid group of guys capable of doing the job.
Oakland did well adding veteran Antonio Smith to play defensive tackle, and retaining nose tackle Pat Simms. Second year player Stacey McGee showed promise but should still be seen as a developmental piece. CJ Wilson was also added in Free Agency, but is more of a depth piece due to his limited starts. Still, none of those guys are capable of dominating on every down.
Added, When the Raiders select number five in the draft there will be no Gerald McCoy available. This crop of defensive tackles has talent, but each of the top players have question marks.Even if the Raiders take another tackle in the later rounds, their is no telling if he will be any better than McGee.
Lucky for the Raiders, a stop gap player like Williams is still available in Free Agency. Even though Williams spent his entire career with the Minnesota Vikings, it seems like they have moved into another direction by some of their free agency additions.
3.5 sacks and 28 tackles shows Williams still has plenty left in the tank. Not to mention being discarded by a team you spent your entire career with should make him a fit on the Raiders veteran defensive unit which is hungry to prove something
Sure Williams is turning 34 this season, but the Raiders have already showed willingness to sign players in the twilight of their careers by signing Tuck and Woodley earlier in Free Agency. Williams has experience playing the game at this highest level, which continues the veteran culture General Manager Reggis McKenzie has built this off season.
Adding Williams may seem redundant because Simms is already their starting nose tackle. However, both 300 pounders could benefit from a decrease in snaps and the added competition.
Last season, Nick Roach struggled fighting off defenders so having defensive tackles fresh to protect him is critical. The whole idea of having a great rotation is keeping your players fresh and not losing anything in the process.
Plus Williams’ 3.5 sacks shows some ability to rush the passer, so the two could easily play together on run downs. The 3 technique is Williams preferred position anyways.Smith could even play defensive end in said scenarios, since that is the position he played in Houston. Therefore, the Raiders could easily find a role for Williams, even if the Veteran does not want a camp competition
Surely, the Raiders will probably wait until the draft plays out before using their remaining cap on another free agency signing. Even if the Raiders elect to draft a DT in May, having Williams around can only benefit said young player and the rest of the defense.
After the draft, Williams will probably still be available, but Oakland should just sign him now while the market for him is still low. With all of the injuries over the season, Williams should expect an increase in demand at some point.
The Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants proved a deep defensive line rotation is a crucial component to winning a championship. Hence, the Raiders should follow that format by adding Williams for a low risk, high reward deal