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2022 free agency: Will Darious Williams be next DB to leave LA? – Rams Wire

Darious Williams was an integral part of the Rams defense in 2020. He remained a starter in 2021 after being brought back as a restricted free agent, but the former undrafted cornerback regressed a bit in his second season starting opposite Jalen Ramsey.
He came through with a solid showing in the Super Bowl when it mattered most, but entering free agency, he’s coming off just an average season with the Rams.
Will he be back for another season in L.A. or will the Rams do what they’ve done with a number of their former defensive backs and let him walk?
(AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
18 games (including playoffs)
PFF grade: 61.8
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Williams enjoyed a breakout season in 2020, picking off five passes and breaking up 16 in 18 games, including the postseason. However, he regressed noticeably this past season, failing to continue ascending into a star cornerback like so many thought he would. At times, he was overmatched by bigger receivers due to his smaller 5-foot-9 frame, but too often, he was simply beat inside on slants or deep shots down the field.
He’s still a solid zone corner where he can break on passes and make plays on the ball, but his lack of size and elite speed limit him a little bit. That, combined with his struggles in 2021, could bring his price down a little bit in free agency this year.
Fortunately for the Rams, he stepped up in the Super Bowl, allowing only 23 yards on three catches. And though he’s not the best tackler in the NFL, he only missed eight times this season, with just one missed tackle coming in the postseason. His four stops in the Super Bowl were his most all season.
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
As you can see on the depth chart above, the Rams are looking quite thin at cornerback with Williams and Dont’e Deayon hitting free agency. Ramsey is the only returning player who was a full-time starter last season, and is also the only one who can be truly counted on to play at a high level next season.
It’s possible Rochell takes the next step as a starter outside, and that Long plays the way he did in the playoffs when he allowed 13 catches on 20 targets for a total of 79 yards in four games. If that’s the case, the Rams will be in decent shape at cornerback.
However, they need to bring in talent regardless of how Rochell and Long play because the depth behind them is almost non-existent. This is a major position of need during the offseason, either in free agency or the draft.
(AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
The Rams have a long history of letting defensive backs walk in free agency. T.J. McDonald, Trumaine Johnson, Lamarcus Joyner, Troy Hill, John Johnson III. The list goes on. They used the tag on Johnson and Joyner, but they rarely commit to defensive backs with long-term deals. Ramsey is the exception, of course, after they signed him to a five-year, $100 million deal. But Williams isn’t Ramsey, and they didn’t trade two first-round picks to land Williams like they did Ramsey.
I think Williams will have a relatively good market despite his down year in 2021, and that will lead to him earning somewhere between $10-14 million per year with his next team. That could price him out of the Rams’ range with Miller and Beckham likely being higher priorities.
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