Could Duce Staley help Carolina Panthers land Jamaal Williams in 2023?

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Jamaal Williams
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Jamaal Williams /

Could Duce Staley’s arrival help the Carolina Panthers lure pending free-agent running back Jamaal Williams if he leaves the Detroit Lions?

The Carolina Panthers are looking to re-sign D’Onta Foreman after an impressive first season. But the deal must work for all parties and if nothing gets sorted in the coming days, those in power would be wise to draw up a contingency plan or two heading into a crucial part of the offseason planning process.

Foreman’s ability to shoulder a heavy burden in the wake of Christian McCaffrey’s trade to the San Francisco 49ers was pleasing. Scott Fitterer, Frank Reich, and Duce Staley have all highlighted their desire to bring the Texas product back, but the money must be right at a time when the Panthers aren’t exactly flush with available funds.

If this relationship turns sour and Foreman’s allowed to test the market, Carolina must act quickly to find a replacement. And there is one player in particular that makes more sense than most.

Carolina Panthers could make a daring move for Jamaal Williams

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Panthers could be a potential destination for Jamaal Williams. The player’s representatives met with the Detroit Lions during the NFL Scouting Combine in pursuit of working out an extension, but Carolina was tabbed as a team to watch in the event he leaves his current employers.

"“The Lions are working to re-sign leading rusher Jamaal Williams before he hits free agency March 15. Williams has made it known he wants to return to Detroit, and his representatives met with the Lions on Wednesday at the combine, but he is expected to garner interest from the Panthers, Buffalo Bills and others on the open market.”"

This was also discussed by Michael Fabiano of Sports Illustrated recently, further fanning the flames in the event Foreman’s contract isn’t extended beyond the current campaign.

Williams enjoyed the best season of his professional career in 2022 and wants to be paid accordingly. He clearly loves Detroit and is one of their true locker room leaders – something that came across throughout their appearance last summer on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

The influence Staley had on Williams’ renaissance cannot be understated. If a scenario presented itself where there’s a chance of obtaining the player, the assistant head coach/running backs coach would bang the table hard all things considered.

Spotrac projects Williams to command an annual salary of $4.1 million on a two-year, $8.35 million deal. This seems pretty feasible and affordable considering his outstanding production last time around.

This does appear unlikely, in all honesty. Foreman should be the priority and rightfully so, but nothing can be ruled out when it comes to the NFL and the madness that’s set to commence when the legal tampering period gets underway.

The Panthers have a chance to set some strong foundations this off-season. They’ve got a premier coaching staff in place, so making the right personnel moves will only strengthen their claims of an NFL South title challenge in 2023.

Even if that won’t include Williams unless something truly drastic occurs.

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