Today, it was revealed that defensive tackle Kevin Williams was part of a move that seemed obvious to us all months ago, as he restructured his contract with the Vikings which will gain the Vikings about $2.5 million in cap space.
His previous deal had already paid out all guarantees and we’ve known for a long time that Williams was essentially a year-to-year at-will employee, and the Vikings could have cut him at any point this offseason with no cap penalties had they decided to do so. The Vikings could have done just that to avoid his $7 million salary that he was scheduled to make in both 2013 and 2014.
Instead, Williams was apparently willing to take a paycut in return for some guaranteed money.
His new deal runs through this upcoming season only, and the $4.9 million salary is not only considerable, but is also fully guaranteed. This pretty much makes it a certainty that he will be a Vikings for one more season, at the least.
Some will consider this move a sign that Williams is in his last year with the Vikings, but I’m not sure it means that. Williams will be 34 years old next offseason, and the Vikings may simply be able to let the market establish itself for an aging tackle on the decline, and still opt to sign him if he is willing to play for a reasonable salary. He will potentially join defensive linemen Jared Allen, Brian Robison, and Everson Griffen as free agents next offseason which could mean a significant change to the defensive line is on the horizon.
For now, however, it appears the D-Line is staying mostly intact.
What I don’t understand, and never will, is why it took so long for the Vikings to work out an obviously needed deal with a lifelong Viking. The move has seemed so obvious for so long. Even Williams himself brought up the issue about 10 months ago. This issue of over-cautiousness (or procrastination) on Rick Spielman’s part has really annoyed me this offseason, not only because we saw other teams land more quality players in free agency, but because the same type of mentality led to what I will always consider a black mark in Vikings history.