The running back market was extremely soft this offseason, thanks in large part to the presence of a really talented young draft class. NFL teams were able to acquire talent at a much cheaper cost than in free agency, which resulted in guys like Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles dangling in the wind longer than expected.
Former Panthers and Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams, now 34 years old, also remains off an NFL roster, despite capably filling in for the Steelers the last two years when Le'Veon Bell was missing.
Part of that is because Williams has Adam Schefter's "Know Them From Adam" ESPN podcast that he couldn't sign an NFL contract because of the impending wrestling event.with Impact Wrestling. Williams, fortunately, . But he said on
But Williams says he is "definitely" playing football in 2017, although he is waiting on a phone call.
"Oh I'm definitely playing football. I guess you could say I'm waiting on the phone call. I guess you could say that. Not guess -- you could say that. I'm waiting on a phone call," Williams said. "Whether it's a GM or a head coach, whoever decides they need my services. I'll be ready. You can rest assured of that. I work out every day. I keep in shape because I know once that phone call comes -- not if, but when it comes -- I'll be ready to step up and deliver because that's what they're asking of me when they place that phone call."
The running back made it clear that his preference is to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he's had a nice career rejuvenation as a backup to Bell, and someone who has been highly effective in short spurts as a starter. In 10 games where he's gotten more than 15 carries over the past two years, Williams has totaled 1,042 rushing yards, which is north of 100 yards per game, a highly impressive number for any stretch during this pass-happy NFL; the only guy to average 100 yards per game last year was rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott.
But there is no guarantee that Williams will be able to come back to Pittsburgh. Williams acknowledged to Schefter that the cap situation in Pittsburgh isn't ideal for paying a backup running back significant money. And he also said he would be willing to play for another team. Or 27 other teams anyway -- Williams also said there are four teams that he will absolutely not play for in 2017, regardless of whether or not those teams are interested.
Oddly, Williams didn't reveal the list! He told Schefter to put a poll on Twitter, see if people could correctly guess those teams and then reveal them at a later date. Let's make our own guesses.
Panthers -- Williams left Carolina in awkward fashion,during the 2015 offseason. The running back and . Two very different things, but suffice to say he is probably still not on good terms with the franchise and the front office there.
Ravens -- Williams still considers himself a quasi-member of the Steelers, so it would be shocking if he considered playing for the team's arch-rival. Steelers and Ravens don't often cross paths in terms of career history.
Patriots -- I didn't originally guess the Pats on Twitter, but they're a pretty good lock here too. Williams has said that he thinks Tom Brady is and He was not on the Panthers team that lost to the Pats in the Super Bowl back in 2003, but the Patriots did draft Laurence Maroney over him and he didn't appreciate that very much.
Browns -- Again, the AFC North. Although the first four on this list feel like pretty good bets.