Jaguars bolster cornerback room with signing of Darious Williams

Darious Williams #11 of the Los Angeles Rams. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Darious Williams #11 of the Los Angeles Rams. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

After not making any meaningful additions on Day 2 of the NFL’s legal tampering period, the Jacksonville Jaguars have made a splash signing just hours before the official start to free agency, striking a deal with former Los Angeles Rams cornerback Darious Williams.

Dan Graziano of ESPN is reporting that the Jags and Williams have agreed to a three-year deal worth $30 million with a max value of $39 million. This is the first move Jacksonville has made in free agency to bolster their cornerback depth. Last year, Williams got the first-round tender, which showed how highly the Rams thought of him, and if they weren’t in a cap crunch, they would have probably brought him back.

After going undrafted in 2018, he signed with the Baltimore Ravens. He played three games for them before being waived and subsequently claimed by Los Angeles, where he went on to appear in 43 games with 26 starts and log six interceptions and 27 passes defensed. He’s posted Pro Football Focus overall grades of 80.0 and 64.3 in 2020 and 2021.

With Tre Herndon and Nevin Lawson becoming free agents, the Jaguars needed to add another cornerback and got one of the best ones in the open market. Williams was 29th in PFF’s top 200 list of free agents and made their Second-Team All-Pro team in 2020.

Darious Williams gives the Jaguars 3 starting cornerbacks.

The Jaguars have a pair of starting cornerbacks in Tyson Campbell and Shaquill Griffin, so it was a tad surprising that they signed Darious Williams, who has mostly lined up out wide throughout his career. Then again, again, he played 92 snaps in the slot last season, so he isn’t totally unfamiliar with the position.

At 5’9″, Williams has the size and quickness to play nickel, so he might get a look there early in the offseason and will most likely compete with Rudy Ford, who was the Jags’ starting nickel in the second half of the 2021 season. Having said that, the team’s brass won’t give the former Ram a $30 million contract just to sit on the bench, so expect him to see the field often in 2022.

Re-signing Tre Herndon wouldn’t have been expensive but the Jaguars are showing that they want to upgrade their roster, and aren’t afraid to spend big to do so. Acquiring Williams didn’t seem likely a few days ago due to his price tag but his presence should give their secondary a boost.

After fortifying both lines and getting weapons for Trevor Lawrence on Day 1 of the tampering period, Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke can check off another box in his offseason to-do list.

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