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New Orleans Saints signing ex-Lions RB Jamaal Williams to three-year contract

Jamaal Williams has found a new home.

The running back has agreed with the New Orleans Saints on a three-year deal worth $12 million, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Williams will receive $8 million in guaranteed money, per Rapoport.

New Orleans marks Williams' third NFC home since he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The move also comes at an ideal time for Williams, who is entering 2023 after posting the best season of his career, rushing for 1,066 yards and a whopping 17 touchdowns in his final campaign in Detroit.

Now was the time for Williams -- who turns 28 in April -- to cash in. His departure from Detroit will leave some Lions fans teary-eyed, especially after he won over scores of followers with his prominent, emotional role in HBO's Hard Knocks. But the NFL is very much a business, and if Williams were to earn a pay raise, it was going to come in 2023.

The annual average salary isn't outrageously lucrative, and pales in comparison to most every other position in the NFL. While quarterbacks are earning between $40 and $55 million per year, Williams will make just a fraction of that in New Orleans. It's not necessarily a sign of his value as much as it is an illustration of the current state of the running back market, which saw a slow start prior to Wednesday afternoon, with the Dolphins' retention of Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, and the Cowboys' release of Ezekiel Elliott standing as the most notable moves.

Williams will take $4 million per year to play in an offense headlined by Alvin Kamara. He's been a No. 2 back for the majority of his career, spelling Aaron Jones in Green Bay, D'Andre Swift in Detroit, and now Kamara in New Orleans. The two could form quite a duo in an offense that has a new quarterback in Derek Carr and a receiving corps that features second-year star Chris Olave and veteran Michael Thomas.

It's time for Williams to take the next step in his career. He'll do it in the Big Easy.

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