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Agent Offers Suprising Update On Top Free Agent Offensive Lineman

According to agent Drew Rosenhaus, Connor Williams may take some time before he signs a new deal in free agency.
Connor Williams Free Agency

When healthy, there is a case to be made that Connor Williams is the best offensive lineman set to hit free agency. The former second-round pick has established himself as one of the league’s elite, finishing the 2023 season with the second-best PFF grade at the position. This is far from an outlier performance, as Williams was the fourth-best center in football by the same metric in 2022.

Burdened with the responsibility of snapping the ball, clearing run lanes on inside plays, and providing a sturdy pocket for the quarterback, a player like Connor Williams would usually be one of the first to sign in free agency. However, NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus recently told the world that this isn’t likely to happen.

After nine games of dominant play, Connor Williams tore his ACL in December, just before he should have hit free agency. With the center rehabbing, Rosenhaus says that Williams will probably wait before he signs a new deal.

“I do think that we’re going to be very methodical and take our time relative to the contract,” Rosenhaus said while appearing on AM 560 Sports WQAM. “A lot of it may be predicted on how Connor is feeling physically. He may not be a player that signs at the very start of free agency. He may take more time based on how he’s feeling physically.”

Agent Says Connor Williams Might Wait to Sign In Free Agency

While agents rarely admit to such things, it’s easy to see why Connor Williams might want to wait and sign in free agency. If it weren’t for his injury, Williams had the potential to completely reset the center market and earn a major long-term deal. That probably isn’t going to happen, at least not in his current state.

Williams tore his ACL in December, and it’s far too early for him to back to playing shape. However, ACL recovery has come a long way in recent years, so it’s not unreasonable for the center to be back on the field for Week 1 of the 2024 season. If Connor Williams can rehabilitate and prove he’s back to his old form, he should earn a much larger deal in free agency.

Of course, some teams could choose to roll the dice and hand out a big contract despite Williams’ current health issues. Regardless of when the deal is signed, somebody is going to pay Connor Williams in free agency, and these five teams make the most sense.

Possible Team Fits

Los Angeles Chargers

Former starting center Corey Linsley has almost certainly played his last NFL snap. While the one-time All-Pro hasn’t officially retired as of yet, his heart condition will end his career. After all, he wouldn’t have restructured his deal the way he did if he ever planned on suiting up again. The Chargers want to build a strong run game, and it’s hard to do that without having a center who can win at the point of attack. Connor Williams is an ideal fit for such a role and makes perfect sense in free agency.

New York Jets

The New York Jets have one of the worst offensive lines in football, and that’s a terrible thing when your quarterback is a 40-year-old coming off an Achilles injury. Every single starting spot needs to improve, and that includes center. The Jets should go all-in on Rodgers’ final few seasons, and signing Connor Williams in free agency is a great way to do just that.

Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are ready to compete for a Super Bowl with C.J. Stroud. They can increase their odds of hoisting the Lombardi by using their $73.9 million in cap space to shore up some of the weaker positions on the roster. Connor Williams is a significant upgrade on Jarrett Patterson and Michael Deiter, and assuming he’s healthy, would be a no-brainer addition in free agency.

Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers need to do a lot of work if they want to give Bryce Young a real shot to succeed. While the weapons are the biggest issue, the interior offensive line also needs a lot of work. Signing Connor Williams in free agency will go a long way toward fixing this issue, as he’s considerably better than Bradley Bozeman. The team can then shift Bozeman to guard and save that position as well.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No matter who is under center for the Buccaneers next year, they could use a better center. The Buccaneers can save $3.11 million in cap space by moving on from Robert Hainsey, a player who finished the 2023 season with the 32nd-best PFF grade out of 36 eligible centers. Depending on what happens with Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans, center might not be the biggest area of need in free agency, but Connor Williams would be a sizable upgrade.

Main Photo: Gregory Fisher – USA Today Sports

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