Jaguars begin cornerback room rebuild by releasing Darious Williams

• The Jaguars are creating $11.5 million in cap space by releasing CB Darious Williams.

Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31) catches
Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31) catches / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars are getting busy for free agency. One day after releasing defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi, they're planning on cutting cornerback Darious Williams, per multiple reports. By moving on from both, the Jags have created a considerable amount of cap space.

Releasing Williams gives the Jaguars an additional $11.5 million to the $3.5 million they got when they cut ties with Fatukasi. That's $15 million on top of the $24 million they had to begin with. Now, the team's brass can focus on re-signing Calvin Ridley or applying the franchise tag on Josh Allen. The only downside is that they'll also have to fill the void left by Williams' departure.

Williams, an undrafted free agent in 2018, spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and the Los Angeles Rams before signing a three-year deal worth $30 million with the Jaguars in 2022. He led the team in passes defensed in each of his two seasons in Jacksonville.

While Williams began his stint in Jacksonville lining up in the slot, he eventually moved outside, where he proved to be his most effective. With Tyson Campbell missing considerable time with a hamstring injury, Williams was the Jags' best cornerback last year. It would've made sense for them to keep him around but the team's brass couldn't pass up the chance to get cap relief.

Moreover, Williams wasn't probably a fit in defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen's scheme. The coaching staff surely looked at Williams' performance and believed they were off looking somewhere else. With Tre Herndon also expected to hit the open market, Tyson Campbell is the Jaguars' only starting cornerback from last year who remains under contract.

Cornerback is now a big priority for the Jaguars after releasing Darious Williams

Darious Williams' departure creates a need at cornerback for the Jaguars, one they'll probably need to address in the draft. They could trade for L'Jarius Sneed. Maybe second and fourth-round picks could get a deal done. They could also pursue bargaining options in the open market. Jeff Okudah will be available in free agency and he played under Ryan Nielsen last year. He could follow his defensive coordinator to Jacksonville.

Other cornerbacks the Jags could pursue in free agency are Adoree' Jackson, Steve Nelson, and Donte Jackson, who is being released by the Carolina Panthers. However, it would make more sense to draft a cornerback early in the draft.

This will be a rich class, and Jacksonville would be in a position to take one of the top cornerback prospects at No. 17, whether it's Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terry Arnold, or Cooper DeJean. Simply put, the team's brass has options to replace Williams. Sure, he was an important contributor last year but the Jaguars are rebuilding their cornerback room. Add the cap space they got and moving on from him was the best course of action.

With Foley Fatukasi and Darious Willliams gone, it will be interesting to see what move the Jacksonvile Jaguars make next ahead of free agency? Will they use the franchise tag on Josh Allen? Will they re-sign Calvin Ridley? Stay tuned.

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