The Arizona Cardinals are planning on playing running back Ryan Williams a lot in their preseason finale on Thursday against the Denver Broncos. The young running back has been dealing with knee issues for the past couple of weeks and has been subject to rumors of his being traded or cut.
If the Cardinals are in fact shopping him around, they are (and necessarily so) playing with fire.
As of right now, you wouldn't figure that Williams would draw much interest. He has only seen three touches in the preseason and has played only five games in two seasons.
So clearly he needs to get on the field to show off his worth. However, in doing so, he once again risks banging up that knee.
Head coach Bruce Arians has stated that Williams will get a majority of the carries on Thursday.
If he does well, then he might have a taker for a trade. He might also show the coaching staff he could be on the team. Arians said earlier in training camp that he would keep "probably five" running backs.
But if he gets hurt, then he has no trade value and he can't be cut without an injury settlement.
As for the trade rumors, Arians would not comment on it in his press conference an then, while on the radio, he said that "the only thing we're preparing him for is help him help me shop for my groceries." What does that mean, anyway?
So while the team is planning on playing him, they are left with a dilemma -- should they play him, especially if they likely plan on letting him go anyway.
Should they risk it, or does it make more sense to ride Williams in the last preseason game and avoid getting one of the other backs hurt?