Should the Chicago Bears re-sign Nick Williams or let him go in free agency?
Nick Williams stepped up and played over 500 snaps last season as a platoon player who helped relieve the loss of Akiem Hicks. However, he enters 2020, a free agent. Williams had his most success in Chicago, but also may want to capitalize monetarily.
Should the Chicago Bears attempt to re-sign Nick Williams, or did they see enough in his starting stint?
Of all defensive lineman who played over half of their team’s defensive snaps, Nick Williams ranks 15th in run stop rate. According to PFF, Williams had 26 run stuffs last season. His ability to jump in and defend the run is needed for any team.
Moving forward, he is not going to be looked at as a starter. If Akiem Hicks remains healthy, he is a great depth piece who you know you can trust to rotate in and give rest to starters on run downs. This has a value and deserves to be kept around.
For the success against the run, he was not getting into the backfield quite as often. He ranked 41st in pressures with 21. The Bears defense was statistically worse last season, and while it is expected, Williams did not wholly fit that void of Hicks. However, with Williams, it goes beyond how he did in his replacement stint.
Williams will be 30 this winter. Last season he played 532 snaps, which is 61% of the snaps he has played in his entire career. Williams spent 2017 out of the NFL and won a jump in 2018 in a camp battle.
Williams has exceeded all expectations since being signed, but all good things come to an end. It is fair to say that the Bears got the most out of Williams. If he wants any more than the veteran minimum, the Bears can find a run defender who is a veteran in the NFL for cheaper.