In 2022, running back Jamaal Williams became a fan favorite and locker room leader for the Detroit Lions. On the field, he had a breakout season, amassing 1,006 yards rushing and a league-leading 17 rushing touchdowns.
Although Williams was instrumental in helping change the culture for the inept franchise, the Lions won’t bring him back. On Tuesday, Detroit agreed to a deal with ex-Bear RB David Montgomery, Williams’ replacement. It’s a move Detroit fans should embrace.
Williams’ 2022 was a bit of a mirage.
Although he averaged 4.1 yards per carry, he ranked near the bottom of the league with a 0.12 forced missed tackle rate. That shows that when he got hit, he usually went down. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it means he rarely broke big runs.
Enter Montgomery, a Bear since he entered the league in 2019. In 2022, he averaged four yards per carry, but he ranked at the top of the league with a 0.31 forced missed tackle rate.
Montgomery, unlike Williams, can get extra yards. That will be a big benefit for the Lions, who will aim to run more often in 2023 to keep their defense off the field.
Williams (6-foot, 224 pounds) and Montgomery (5-foot-11, 224 pounds) are nearly identical in size and weight, so Montgomery will simply step in to the role Williams served — and do it better.
Williams’ presence will be missed in the locker room, but Montgomery is no slouch. He was praised by Bears GM Ryan Poles for what he brought to the team that finished with the league’s worst record in 2022.
“I love his mentality, how he plays the game,” Poles said, according to NBC Sports Chicago. “I told him that to his face. He’s part of the identity that we had this year that kept us competitive.”
Montgomery will sign a three-year, $18 million deal, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. It’s a big deal for a player whose position has been devalued in the NFL, but it’s still remains less than 4% of the team’s total cap space.
The newest Lions RB should be able to match Williams’ stats as well as his presence in the locker room, and that should help continue the winning ways in Motown.
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Publish Date:2023-03-18 23:54:27