The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly striking out with former fifth-round running backs. They took Brian Hill during the most recent draft, but never played on offense in the regular season before getting cut, moved to the practice squad, and signed by the Cincinnati Bengals. They tried to bring in former Buffalo Bills fifth-round running back Jonathan Williams, but struck out there as well.
Sean Payton said the Falcons also had a contract offer for RB Jonathan WIlliams, whom the Saints signed from the Denver Broncos practice squad. Payton said Williams is excited to be in NOLA.— Herbie Teope (@HerbieTeope) November 15, 2017
You may remember Williams as a guy who “broke out” during preseason, then was unceremoniously cut before the regular season. We mentioned him as a likely superior player to Brian Hill or Terron Ward, but the Falcons reportedly did not make a move until Devonta Freeman’s second concussion. Apparently, the New Orleans really, really wanted Williams.
"He had two contracts offered to him, which was just coincidence," Saints coach Sean Payton said Wednesday morning. "He had Atlanta and New Orleans both recruiting him hard."
Payton said he, general manager Mickey Loomis and running backs coach Joel Thomas, who coached Williams at Arkansas from 2013-14, were all involved in the recruitment process.
We aren’t sure if Atlanta had much interest in keeping Hill, or if Hill even knew the Falcons wanted to promote him to the roster before he left for Cincinnati.
Atlanta now has Terrence Magee, a practice squad player from the Cleveland Browns who has a total of six NFL touches the last two seasons. Someone cover Tevin Coleman in bubble wrap, now!