NFL reinstates Karlos Williams | Should Buffalo Bills be interested in reunion?

Mike Ehrmann

Karlos Williams reinstated

By Ryan Talbot | rtalbot@nyup.com

The NFL officially reinstated former Buffalo Bills running back Karlos Williams on Wednesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the news and included that the league stated Williams was humbled and committed to not squandering his second chance.

Now that Williams can rejoin the league, here’s a look back at his brief NFL career, whether the Bills should be interested in a reunion and more.

Williams’ rookie season

Karlos Williams was drafted by the Bills in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. By the end of his rookie season, Williams looked like one of the biggest steals in the entire draft class.

The running back appeared in 11 games (3 starts) and rushed for 517 yards on 93 carries (5.6 YPC). He wasn’t as much of a factor in the passing game (11-96), but he finished his rookie season with nine total touchdowns. This included a streak of six consecutive games with a score.

After looking like the perfect complement to LeSean McCoy, things went south quickly for Williams.

Time with Bills comes to an end

After an outstanding rookie season, Karlos Williams showed up to training camp out of shape. Williams’ playing shape and a four-game suspension that was announced in July of 2016 led to the Bills releasing Williams in late-August.

More suspensions

In October of 2016, Williams would join the Steelers practice squad. The move reunited Karlos with his brother Vince, but the two never actually got to play together in Pittsburgh.

By November, the league handed Williams a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He signed a futures contract with Pittsburgh in January of 2017, but was released by the team in March. The NFL would suspend Williams for at least one full year after suspending the back again in June of 2017.

Will he land on NFL roster?

The NFL is willing to give players opportunities to continue their respective careers. Teams can have 90-players on their respective offseason rosters and it’s possible that a NFL team calls Williams based solely on his production during his rookie season with the Bills.

Brett Carlsen

Should Bills be interested in reunion?

The Bills running back room could look a lot different between now and September.

Despite Brandon Beane’s comments saying the team plans on having LeSean McCoy return in 2019, it’s very possible that the Bills part ways with the back following the worst season of his NFL career.

Chris Ivory looks like a cut candidate based on his salary and production in 2018 and Marcus Murphy is no sure thing to make the roster.

While the Bills are likely to address the running back position in the draft or free agency, it wouldn’t hurt to see what Williams could do over the summer.

If Williams is looking to get on more NFL radars, there is one immediate avenue for the back to explore.

The Alliance of American Football

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is two weeks into their 10-week season. It may not be realistic to expect Williams to walk in off the street this week and immediately contribute for a team, but it could benefit the back to rejoin a team that would allow him to get into NFL shape. By the end of the AAF’s inaugural season, it’s possible that Williams could get on the field and show that he has some of the same explosiveness and elusiveness that he had with the Bills.

XFL

If Williams cannot find a home in the NFL this season, he could explore the return of the XFL in 2020.

The league is looking for talented players to fill rosters which makes Williams a candidate. Although it’s far from NFL money, the league is offering an average of $75,000 per season. Much like the AAF, Williams could use the XFL to showcase his skills to the league.

Leon Halip

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