As an unrestricted free agent, running back DeAngelo Williams can begin negotiating with all 32 teams this morning before signing his second NFL contract on Friday. According to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette, the 28-year-old hopes that second contract keeps him with the Carolina Panthers.
"I honestly and truly want to stay a Carolina Panther and they’re doing their part of keep me a Carolina Panther," Williams said. "So I’m very excited about that. Carolina gets the first stab at me. If everything looks great, then why entertain other offers? So that’s where we stand right now."
Chosen with the 27th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, Williams gained 4,211 yards and scored 31 touchdowns on the ground, and caught 118 passes for 922 yards and four touchdowns out of the backfield during his 64 games with the Panthers. Williams made the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season, but a foot injury limited him to just six games in 2010, the final year of his five-year, $10.43 million rookie contract.
Williams has been linked to the Denver Broncos, where his old head coach John Fox could use a veteran back to pair with Knowshown Moreno in what's expected to be a run-heavy offense, and the Miami Dolphins, who are not expected to bring veterans Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams back. The Dolphins used a 2011 second-round pick on Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas.
Williams is expected to report to Bank of America Stadium on Tuesday to meet face-to-face with Panthers general manager Marty Hurney.
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