The K.C. Chiefs have re-signed running back Darrel Williams to a one-year contract worth up to a reported $2.13 million, per Kansas City Star reporter Herbie Teope. The move bolsters the backfield behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and could signal a leap up the depth chart for Williams.
Williams has slowly but steadily worked his way up the team’s depth chart after signing with the Chiefs originally as an undrafted free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. After serving as a backup at LSU, Williams earned a pro look from the Chiefs and not only made the team but played in six games as a rookie. From there, Williams has become more and more of a fixture in the backfield even as the Chiefs have made several other moves around him during his short tenure with the team.
Last year, Williams enjoyed his finest season to date statistically speaking with 39 total carries for 161 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Most importantly, however, was how much the team learned to lean on him in the postseason over others predicted to have a greater impact. Williams had 28 rushes for 135 yards and 1 touchdown and another 7 catches for 35 yards through the air during the team’s postseason run.
Over the years, the Chiefs have drafted Edwards-Helaire in the first round and signed notable free agent veterans like LeSean McCoy and Le’Veon Bell. Yet somehow Williams has continued to thrive despite the competition.
This next year will be interesting to see what the Chiefs do at the position with Damien Williams, who is returning to the team after opting out a season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that Williams’ contract could reach beyond $2 million, it calls Damien’s deal into question since his deal has a cap hit of over $2.7 million. Are the Chiefs really going to pay a third running back somewhere between $2M and $3M? That seems absurd.
At this point, it looks like Darrel Williams’ deal could be a signal of a greater expected workload for the Chiefs going forward. That seems especially true based on how the team utilized him in the postseason.