Jamaal Williams free agency: Green Bay running back says he’d ‘love to just be a Packer all my life’

The Green Bay Packers backfield is in a state of flux as we enter the busier portion of the offseason. Both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams — two main pillars to Matt LaFleur’s rushing attack — are set to hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year begins in mid-March. Given the production they’ve put out over the course of their respective careers, each back should anticipate having a healthy market rate, which does put their future in Green Bay in doubt. However, in Williams’ case, he’s hoping that his days sporting Packers colors are far from over. 

“I’m thinking about free agency, but I’d really love to just be a Packer all my life if I could,” Williams told the NFL Network on Monday. “They gave me my first shot. I love Green Bay. It’s just a great place to be. But you know, things happen. If things don’t happen, then I’m just ready to take my shot into the free agency and show my skills to any team that’s willing to take that chance on me. I’m just ready to go, man. I’m just ready to play, have fun, be myself, just bring my spark to any team willing to give me that shot.”

Williams, who has been with the Packers since the club drafted him the fourth round of the 2017 draft, has been a strong complementary piece for Green Bay and has proven to be a valuable weapon as both a rusher and pass-catcher. In 2020, he rushed for 505 yards while catching 31 of his 35 targets for 236 yards. 

While he’s largely played second fiddle to Jones, teams did get a glimpse of what Williams could accomplish if he were given the lion’s share of touches. In his two starts last season where he played in 85% or more of the offensive snaps, Williams totaled 152 yards on 4.34 yards per carry and caught 10 of his 11 targets for 64 yards. That type of production over a 16-game season would have Williams flirting around 1,700 yards from scrimmage, which could be pretty enticing for teams looking to add a dynamic piece to their backfield unit. 

With that potential in mind and Williams still only 25 years old, it does seem like the Packers will quickly be out-bid for his services, given their cap constraints this offseason. Still, Williams does dream about a scenario where both he and Jones are back in Green Bay in 2021. 

“Shoot, I’m not sure. I hope it does, but if it doesn’t, I’ll always wish my boy the best,” he said of Jones. “That’s my boy for life. We’ve been together since we started our career, and it’s nothing but a brotherhood. It’s nothing but us just having fun and wanting the best for each other. I mean, I love him, he loves me, and we know we’ve got each other’s back forever. And we know we came in this together, and we learned from each other by just our grit, how we came here to play, how every time we go the offseason, we try to make each other better for the team. We’re so team-oriented, and we just want to do what’s best for the team. That’s why we connect so well.”

Green Bay did draft A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, which may have been a preemptive measure by the team with both of these star backs now hitting the open market. 

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