NFL analyst predicts the Jaguars will release Darious Williams in 2024 offseason

• The Jaguars could revamp their CB room in 2024, and one change would include releasing Darious Williams, according to a respected NFL analyst.

Dec 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31)
Dec 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Darious Williams (31) / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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The Jacksonville Jaguars could make wholesome changes to the roster in the offseason. While they have several pieces in place, they also have glaring holes at a handful of positions groups. Given that their cap situation isn't ideal, they may part ways with some key contributors, including cornerback Darious Williams, in order to get a bit of breathing room.

Williams is under contract throughout the 2024 season, having signed a three-year deal worth $30 million in 2022. He's coming off a banner season, tallying four interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and a team-best 19 passes defensed.

However, Williams is set to have a cap hit of $10 million in 2024 and Jacksonville can free up nearly all that amount of space with minimal dead money. Aaron Schatz of FTN Fantasy, writing for ESPN, believes that makes him a prime candidate to get the boot.

"The Jaguars will cut cornerback Darious Williams for a $10 million cap savings, leaving just $500,000 in dead money, even though he had a strong season with 12 pass breakups and four picks."

The Jags originally projected Williams to line up in the slot. He wasn't a great fit and fared much better when they moved him to the boundaries in the second half of the 2022 season. While he didn't register a pick in his first season with the Jags, he posted a team-high 16 batted passes. On a related note, Pro Football Reference credits him with 19 pass breakups, not 12, as Schatz alluded.

The Jaguars also benefit from keeping Darious Williams around in 2024

One thing that could play a big factor in the Jaguars' decision to stick with Darious Williams for another season is the arrival of defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. Last year, with Nielsen calling the shots on the Atlanta Falcons defense, they ran press coverage on 35 percent of their snaps, the second-highest figure in the league. Meanwhile, Jacksonville ranked 28th with 8.0 percent. It's fair to assume that number will go up in 2024 with Nielsen at the helm.

This makes Darious Campbell's and Tyson Campbell's with the team a bit uncertain. They're both under contract for one more season but it's uncertain if they will fit Nielsen's system. Add the fact that the Jaguars could be targeting a cornerback early in the draft, and the unit could look considerably different in 2025.

While the Jaguars could get immediate cap relief if they released Williams before free agency, they should keep up for training camp and see if he can thrive in Nielsen's system. If he doesn't, they should then consider the prospect of potentially trading him. Simply put, outright releasing him doesn't make sense even when you take into account the space they would get.

If the Jaguars really want to trim the cap, there are other more enticing options than Williams. Left tackle Cam Robinson could give them $17.2 million in savings if they release him or trade him. Similarly, right guard Brandon Scherff would free up $9.01 million if they move on from him, and he hasn't been nearly as productive as Williams.

The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars should only part ways with Darious Williams if they don't think he'll deliver under Ryan Nielsen. Last year, he proved he's worth the contract he inked in 2022, and deserves a chance to show he should stay for another season.

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