Free agent running back Jamal Williams has found a new home after one day The Detroit Lions decided to move on from their leading rusher.
Williams, who set a Lions single-season franchise record with 17 rushing touchdowns last year, agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday.
The Lions and former Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal on Tuesday.
Montgomery is expected to be introduced at a press conference on Thursday, after officially signing his contract.
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After negotiations with Williams failed, the Lions turned to Montgomery. It was believed that they were offering Williams the same deal they offered Montgomery.
Montgomery’s contract includes a $4.5 million signing bonus and $11 million over the next two seasons, with $500,000 available annually in per-game roster bonuses.
Williams led the Lions in rushing with 1,066 yards last season and became the first Lion to top 1,000 yards since Reggie Bush in 2013.
A fan favorite in Detroit, Williams had said he hoped to return to the Lions.
On Wednesday, he posted a thank you message to Lions fans on social media.
“I just want to say thank you to all the Detroit fans and everyone in addition to The Den’s Hidden Village,” Williams wrote. “I’ve grown a lot over those two years and I appreciate every single experience I had with everyone I was there.”
“I appreciate all of you and know that the Kazekage always lead the way with that warrior mentality,” Williams wrote in a second post.
In New Orleans, Williams will likely split time in the backfield with Alvin Kamara. In two seasons with the Lions, he had 1,667 yards and 20 touchdowns on 415 carries.
Contact Dave Birkett at [email protected] follow him on twitter @davebirkett.
This article was originally published on the Detroit Free Press: Ex-Detroit Lions RB Jamal Williams reportedly signing with New Orleans