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Monday, May 12, 2014
End of Ryan Williams' era was coming

By Josh Weinfuss

Some of the least surprising news of the offseason landed in my inbox Monday.

The Cardinals announced that they had cut running back Ryan Williams today, along with tight end Brett Brackett, center John Estes and linebacker Kenny Rowe.

Williams
Williams
Can't say I didn't see it coming. At some point this offseason, the Cardinals were going to part ways with Williams, the second-round pick from 2011 whose career was hampered by injuries. They're saving $1 million in salary, $1.057 million in cap space and will only be charged with about $535,000 in dead money, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Injuries are a part of the game and they have defined Williams' career. He suffered a season-ending knee injury during training camp his rookie year then a shoulder injury five games into 2012 that ended his season.

But what signaled the beginning of the end of Williams' tenure with the Cardinals was last training camp. Williams all but took himself out of contention for playing time when he couldn't practice because the "fatty pad" under one of his knee caps was hurting him. It didn't help that last year was Bruce Arians' first training camp.

Arians wants players to contribute to as many facets of the Cardinals as possible, so when Williams wasn't competing for a spot on special teams, his chances of seeing the field dwindled. And kept dwindling.

He was inactive for all 16 games in 2013, not even dressing when Rashard Mendenhall was injured. That should've been the writing on the wall. Even down a running back, Arians didn't trust Williams enough to make him an option. Arians was in Williams' corner when he first arrived in Arizona because the two shared a Virginia Tech bond. But Arians also had a team to run and Williams wasn't doing anything to contribute to its success.

Williams had a chance to make inroads toward playing time in 2014 when Mendenhall retired in March but the front office clearly didn't see what they liked out of him during the start of offseason workouts.

This was the year Williams could've earned playing time, but that chance is over.