As always, let's start today's free agency post with some results from yesterday's voting. We examined special teams impact player Reggie Walker most recently and as of the time I am writing this, 78% of you said that the Arizona Cardinals should look to re-sign the soon-to-be restricted free agent. Not only is he a great special teams player, but he is also a solid player for depth and his teammates, by what I have seen via Twitter and heard in interviews, seem to love him. That is the type of player that every NFL team looks for.
Today, let's look at a player that many of you may not have even known was on the roster. Brandon Williams was signed to the practice squad of the Cardinals last year after having played in six games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2010. As an outside linebacker, Williams has drawn comparisons to some of the best pass rushers in the NFL, so we have to ask -- why would Dallas cut him in the first place? Let's find out after the jump.
While in the Big D, Williams was able to record four tackles in the six games he played, Obviously, he was only on the field for a limited amount of time, so his production is not what the team was concerned about. Unfortunately for the young athlete, he has been dealing with numerous knee issues, including a torn ACL during his short career.
Dallas drafted him in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft as a defensive end coming out of Texas Tech. At the time, the coaching staff felt that he had explosive pass rushing skills and that might be the perfect compliment to All-Pro linebacker, Demarcus Ware. His knee issues did nothing to support their hopes.
So the Cowboys cut him after the 2010 season and in 2011, the Cardinals decided to give him a second chance in the league. Before he was cut, Wade Phillips had even drawn comparisons between Williams and Ware, saying that his explosiveness off the ball was something that you didn't see everyday.
Williams was initially signed to the practice squad for the Cardinals, but was eventually elevated to the 53 man roster after Joey Porter was placed on injured reserve with his knee injury. By making that transaction, the Cardinals made sure that no other team has the opportunity to sign him off of their squad and that if they choose to retain him, there will be no contest.
The Cards currently hold the exclusive rights to Brandon Williams, who is set to hit free agency. So should they go ahead and exercise those rights and keep him on the team?
Although my knowledge is very limited on this player, I would definitely take a risk on him. If he is fully recovered from his injuries and in the mindset to contribute on the field again, then the team should sign him to a short term deal that is bound to be relatively inexpensive. If the guy is being compared to one of the best pass rushers in the league, he must be doing something right. The Cardinals need another pass rusher at the OLB position anyhow, so perhaps Williams can be their guy.
What do you think? Should the Arizona Cardinals take a risk and re-sign linebacker Brandon Williams? Leave your vote in the poll and don't forget to tell us why in the comments section below.