Could Jacksonville Jaguars regret releasing CB Darious Williams?

• B/R thinks the Jaguars may come to regret parting ways with Darious Williams, but will they?

Dec 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs the
Dec 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) runs the / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars released cornerback Darious Williams in an effort to create cap relief. While Williams played at a Pro Bowl level last year, the team's brass couldn't pass up the chance to get $11 million in space. On top of that, he may have been a fit for the Jags' new defensive scheme. Still, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report thinks that releasing Williams may come back to haunt them.

Sobleski put together a list of cap casualties teams will regret releasing and included Williams, noting that he was their most prolific cornerback last year.

"At 30, Williams is older. The Jaguars have invested draft picks in Tyson Campbell, Montaric Brown, Gregory Junior and nickel Antonio Johnson. They also signed Ronald Darby to help offset the loss of Williams. Nonetheless, a team moving on from its best corner is difficult.

Williams has re-signed with the Los Angeles Rams, where he previously played between the 2018 and 2021 seasons. He'll immediately step in as CB1 and upgrade a unit that finished among the bottom half of the league in pass defense last season."

Williams signed a three-year deal worth $30 million with the Jags in 2022. He wasn't particularly great early on but he performed much better once he moved to the boundaries. Although he didn't register an interception in his first season in Jacksonville, he did log a team-high 16 passes defensed. He was much better in 2023, recording four interceptions and 19 passes defensed.

But despite his success in 2023, Williams was seen as a potential cap casualty in the offseason due to the cap space the Jags could get if they released him. Ultimately, the front office chose the savings and signed Ronald Darby as his immediate replacement.

For his part, Williams met with the New York Giants before opting to sign a three-year deal worth $22.5 million to return with the Los Angeles Rams. An undrafted free agent in 2018, Williams signed with the Baltimore Ravens as a rookie but it wasn't until he was traded to the Rams later that year that he hit his stride.

After releasing Williams, the Jaguars' cornerback room comprises Darby, Tyson Campbell, Montaric Brown, Gregory Junior, and Christian Braswell.

The Jaguars thought Darious Williams was not part of their long-term plans

All things considered, Ronald Darby is a solid replacement for Darious Williams. He didn't have as many interceptions last year but he has given up just one touchdown the past two years. Furthermore, his $10.5 million contract for two years is less than what Williams was scheduled to make in 2024.

Basically, the Jacksonville Jaguars got a player who's a better fit for Ryan Nielsen's scheme at a cheaper rate. Make no mistake, Williams was playing well last year but it didn't make sense to keep him from a cost and scheme perspective. Otherwise, the front office may've tried to restructure his contract or give him an extension. That's what they did with other players they wanted to keep but had a big cap hit.

Moreover, Williams was going to become a free agent next year, so the Jaguars began to rebuild their cornerback room one year too soon instead of one too late. Montaric Brown, Gregory Junior, and Christian Braswell are nothing but depth pieces at this stage of their respective careers. It's also worth noting that Tyson Campbell is set to hit the open market in 2025, so Jacksonville will mostly invest a couple of picks — one probably in Rounds 1 or 2 — in this year's draft.

In the end, the Jaguars moved on from a good player because they think they'll be better off without him. The decision could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Williams, who gets a chance to rejoin the Rams.

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