With the prospect of a free agency free off-season becoming more likely by the day, I may start reeling in these posts. But for the moment, let us dream of a day when owners and players can find common ground and stop making me worry so much.
Today's choice may be a little controversial. Cadillac Williams was drafted to be an elite running back and never turned into one, crippled as he was by injuries and ineffectiveness for long stretches of his career. You're certainly not getting a replacement for Michael Turner if you sign a guy with a career 3.8 yards per carry average, and I fully understand that. On those merits, it would be a terrible pickup.
But what if you weren't getting the Caddy to be a runner?
Yes, he'd still get carries, but the Falcons have shown a reluctance to give a bunch to their backups anyways. His primary use would be as a pass catcher and as a pass blocker, and there's where Williams' true value lies at this stage of his career.
Last year, Caddy reeled in 46 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown. Compare that to our own Jason Snelling, who grabbed 44 catches for 306 yards and 3 touchdowns. Williams is also thought of as one of the premier pass blockers in the league, which would give him a lot of value when the Falcons need to buy Matt Ryan a little more time, or on those elusive screen passes. And as a rusher, his 3.5 yards per carry last season were just behind Snelling's, who clocked in at 3.7.
Let's be clear: I'm not advocating Cadillac over Snelling. Big Snell is a year younger and has inarguably been the better runner over the course of his career, occasional red zone struggles aside. But it's not certain the Falcons will keep him around, not with other teams knowing how valuable he can be as a backup and potentially tossing a nice contract his way. The Falcons have in-house options in Gartrell Johnson and Antone Smith that they're still nurturing, too.
If Snelling can go out in free agency and get a fat deal, the Falcons will have to think about replacing him. They could do much worse than Cadillac Williams, who would be a great fit as a passing down back in the Falcons' system. As long as he comes cheap, that is.