The Broncos released linebacker DJ Williams today. Linebacker is a thin position in Oakland and Williams has some Raiders connections.
Precision is the name of the game for the Raiders in free agency this year. They must try and find just the right players who can help get the team back on track. Reggie McKenzie has gone to the Packers well many times to try and bolster the roster with former players of whom he once thought very highly so it would seem connections are pretty important.
One such player with Raiders connections is DJ Williams who was released today from the Broncos. The longtime Bronco linebacker had Dennis Allen coaching him in 2011 before Allen came to the Raiders as their new head coach.
Williams had 97 combined tackles starting all 13 games in which he appeared that season under Allen. That translates to a 120 tackle season over 16 games. He also added 5.0 sacks.
The concern for this veteran linebacker is more what he did last season in which he was suspended 9 games. First for failing three PED tests. The first two he outright failed and the third tested as non-human urine which means he tried to cheat, knowing he would fail again.
The suspension was for 9 games because he also had a DWI. It wasn't his first such charge either. He had been pulled over for a DUI back in 2010 as well.
The suspension had him appearing in seven games last season but he played sparingly. He started just one game and had 14 combined tackles on the season.
Williams' having been coached for one season by Dennis Allen isn't his only connection to the Raiders. He is originally from the East Bay city of Pittsburg and attended the famous De LaSalle High School in nearby Concord. That's the same high school Maurice Jones Drew attended as well as several other NFL players over the years.
The Raiders are currently desperate for help at linebacker. They currently only have one sure returning starter - second year player, Miles Burris. The team is also hoping to bring back Philip Wheeler at the other outside linebacker position but have yet to re-sign him with free agency opening Tuesday.
If Williams were brought in, he would be tried at middle linebacker. The team is expected to cut first round bust, Rolando McClain as free agency starts and have no one in line to replace him.
One of McClain's major incidents was getting arrested in Alabama two seasons ago on several charges stemming from allegedly putting a gun to a man's head and then firing off a round next to his ear. He was charged with assault, discharging a firearm in city limits, reckless endangerment, and menacing.
Then last season he was kicked out of practice and suspended two games for conduct detrimental to the team. He would be inactive the final three games for a total of five games in which he didn't play.
With McClain as the opening act, DJ Williams and his failed PED test and DWI seems like child's play. But even so, it may not be in the interest of Reggie McKenzie to replace one problem child with another, especially at a position as vital as middle linebacker.
McKenzie's specialty in scouting is linebacker because that's what he was in his playing days. It would take one heck of an endorsement by Dennis Allen to get him to agree to signing DJ Williams after his issues. And even then, he is on the wrong side of 30 years old.
So, even with the glaring need at a position Williams could very well fill, and his Raiders connections, I am skeptical they would sign him.