Veteran free agent running back DeAngelo Williams will visit with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday and the 31 year-old Memphis product posted Thursday on Twitter that he hopes to have a new home after that visit is over.
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) March 12, 2015
While several in the Steelers fan base seem to be concerned about Williams’ age and injury history, I think it’s important to keep in mind that he’s never carried the football more than 216 times more than once in a single season during his nine years in the league. He’s also never had 300 total touches in a regular season.
While Williams did miss 10 games last season with the Panthers, the final four games of the season that he missed was because of a broken right hand. In total, he’s missed just 11 regular season games over the course of the last four seasons and a total of 27 his entire career. 20 of those games that he missed came in two seasons, so I wouldn’t necessarily characterize him as being injury prone.
Here’s another stat to consider. Williams has only fumbled 12 times in 1,610 career regular-season touches.
Williams has a solid character and I’m sure that Steelers quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner will be able to vouch for that as he was his offensive coordinator at Memphis. Williams also isn’t likely to throw a fit about lack of playing time like LeGarrette Blount did last season, as he should be used to that after having to split time with Jonathan Stewart and others during his time with the Panthers.
The Steelers are going to need an all-purpose running back at the beginning of the 2015 season as starter Le’Veon Bell is expected to miss the first two games due to a suspension. Williams should be able to handle that role perfectly and then play a complimentary role once Bell returns.
As usual, whether or not Williams is a member of the Steelers come Friday evening will likely depend on the money he is offered and he how checks out medically. Last year at about this same time the Steelers gave Blount a two-year contract worth $3.85 million and that’s roughly what I expect Williams to be offered Friday as well.
Like it or not, Williams is a perfect fit for the Steelers and I will be surprised if he’s not a member of the Steelers come Friday night.