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Report: Chiefs sign running back Darrel Williams to a one-year deal

Williams earned the start for the Chiefs at running back in their Divisional round win over the Cleveland Browns.

NFL: AFC Championship Game-Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post noted Williams was tendered as a restricted free agent, but he signed a one-year contract with guaranteed money, along with incentives that could get him to what would be the amount equivalent to a tender. The article has been corrected.)

The Kansas City Chiefs are signing running back Darrel Williams to a one-year deal, according to Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star. The contract is worth up to $2.13 million, including $930,000 in guaranteed money, also per Teope.

Williams, 25, first joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Williams’ greatest regular-season production (308 scrimmage yards) came during the 2019 season as Kansas City looked for an answer at running back, but Williams re-entered the spotlight late in 2020 when starting rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a hip and ankle injury in Week 15. Williams started the Chiefs’ Divisional round game against the Cleveland Browns, and he compiled 13 carries for 78 yards and four catches for 16 yards. In the AFC title game against the Buffalo Bills, he notched the Chiefs’ go-ahead touchdown, and they never lost the lead.

A hamstring injury ended Williams’ 2019 campaign early but he rebounded to play a full season in 2020.

“That was really the only thing that was holding Darrel back, was just being able to stay healthy consistently,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said back in early February. “He spent so much time rehabbing this past offseason, got himself into great shape, caught a couple breaks, which you need. I mean, he’s always worked hard, he just got nicked up. So, he was able for the most part to stay injury-free, and he put together this season. And it’s not over yet, he’s got one more game left here (the Super Bowl), but he sure has had a good season to this point. I would tell you that he’s really a smart football player. So, you see him produce on the field, but we all have confidence in him. Whether it’s third down, blitz protection, whether it’s blocking for another back or you’ve seen him block for Tyreek (Hill) at times, or whether it’s out catching a pass, he just has a real feel for it and is very instinctive, and likewise very smart.”

As Reid noted, the Chiefs especially like Williams’ ability as a pass blocker, and his relationship with the starter, Edwards-Helaire, dates back to their college days at LSU. The Chiefs currently have three other backs on the 2021 90-man roster — the returning Damien Williams, Darwin Thompson and Derrick Gore.

Darrel has totaled 664 scrimmage yards and six total touchdowns in his three-year career.